16 butchers detained, 12 charged for public health, other breaches in major MoBay crackdown
Sixteen butchers at the Charles Gordon Market, in Montego Bay, were taken into custody Saturday morning, under the Public Health and Food and Drug acts.
The butchers were processed at the Barnett Street Police Station in the second city, where four of them who presented credentials were released.
The other 12 were arrested for various offences under the Public Health Act, including butchering without a license, selling uninspected meat; no food handlers permit, no public health certification and using mark or stamp to deceive the public.
Some 440 pounds of goat meat, 595 pounds of beef, 539 pounds of pork and 109 pounds of assorted meat kinds, included fish and entrails were confiscated during the early morning operation, led by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in charge of the Praedial Larceny and Prevention Unit, Kevin Francis.
The confiscated meat will be disposed of by the National Solid Waste Management Agency.
The meats are believed to have been taken from farms in St. Elizabeth, St. Ann and Westmoreland.
According to DSP Francis, some of the persons in custody were selling meat which was unfit for human consumption.
"When the Public Health Inspector tested the meat he found that they were not fit for consumption," Francis said.
He described the storage condition of the meats as unsanitary, with some being stored next to chemicals.
His colleague, Sergeant Damian Harry concurred, noting that butchers use markers to imitate the stamps being used by public health inspectors.
"We found meat that were stamped, yet not inspected," Harry said.
The police sergeant said two ink stamps and markers were seized.
In addition to all the other charges mentioned earlier, DSP Francis, said a number of the persons arrested were also charged under the Unlawful Possession of Property Act, revealing that farmers in St. Elizabeth, Westmoreland and St. Ann were suffering because of praedial larceny.
"There are major players operators between the parishes and their meat end up at Charles Gordon Market," he argued, while warning consumers to be more vigilant when buying meats.
"Ensure the sources are credible and are duly inspected and stamped by the Public Health inspector," he advised.