(CMC) – Health authorities are warning against consuming unsafe meat during the National Day and Christmas holidays.
St. Lucia observes its national day on Thursday with a public holiday and the Environmental Health Division Wednesday appealed to consumers not to purchase meat that has not been inspected since it may have a disease or be unfit for human consumption.
It said once the meat is inspected it will be stamped by the inspecting officer.
“In the absence of the stamp or that the stamp is chopped, they will also have a certificate of wholesomeness which the butcher will have in their custody,” it said, reminding butchers and livestock farmers of the arrangements regarding the inspection of locally slaughtered animals during the Christmas season.
Environmental Health Officer Ernie Pierre has said that it is necessary that all persons desirous of slaughtering animals meet the required standards and should visit the Department to obtain the necessary guidelines.
“They need them to come in early; they need to register with us, because there is a process that they need to follow. This process entails that they get health certificates for them and their helpers. The reason they need to come in advance is that they need to have adequate time and they also need to visit the police.
“On registering with us, they need to make a declaration with the police because the police are actually the ones that give the butchers license. So, if they purchase the animal, they will have to bring that receipt to make declaration with the various stations where they are located. From there, that animal will also have to get an ante-mortem inspection,” Pierre said.
Pierre said that it is also important for butchers and farmers to have their animals on site 24 hours before the slaughter date, since it would accommodate the ante-mortem inspection that must be done prior to slaughter.
“That inspection is important and once that animal has been deemed fit and can proceed to slaughter; the Veterinary Division will also issue a certificate.”