SEVERAL people have been ‘beating’ the system that requires the payment of a fee for the proper disposal of meat at the Riverton dump in Kingston.
This short cut causes hundreds of pounds of spoilt meat sent to the dump returning to the streets where it is sold to unspecting consumers at low prices, with purchasers apparently unaware of the threat to their health.
Dr Debbie Carrington, medical officer at the Kingston and St Andrew (KSA) Public Health Department, told the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) council meeting yesterday.
Meat deemed to be unsuitable for human consumption is supposed to be denatured by treatment with a substance to render it unsuitable for consumption, then buried at the Riverton disposal site under the supervision of the Public Health Department, Dr Debbie Carrington of the KSA Public Health Department told yesterday’s council meeting of the KSAC.
Percy Stewart, the acting executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), told the meeting that persons who refused to pay the NWSMA for the proper disposal of rotten meat have been taking it to the dump where it is improperly disposed of.
He told the council that persons, when caught dumping meat illegally at the dump, are ticketed, but did not say how often perpetrators are caught.
Outlining the procedure for dumping unsuitable food, Stewart said that the first step is for the Public Health Department to contact the NWSMA.
“We then visit and inspect the products to be disposed of and give an estimate of the cost for the burial. The depth of the burial is then specified and a date set for the product to be received at Riverton. The burial of the products is observed by the public health officials and the police,” Stewart said.
The Public Health Department told the Jamaica Observer that for 10 tons of meat two NWSMA garbage compactors have to be used to transport it to the dump. It said the compactor is the preferred form of transportation as the meat cannot be stolen from it. The haulage cost for one full garbage compactor is $10,000 or $1,200 per ton.
And the depth to which the meat is to be buried is specified by the Ministry of Health.
The NSWMA, meanwhile, has to hire an escavator or backhoe to escavate the hole to the required depth of at least eight feet, depending on the quantity of rotten meat to be buried.
Meanwhile, Chief Public Health Inspector Everton Baker yesterday urged the KSAC to designate special areas in the city’s markets for the selling of meat. He said that meat should be sold in an appropriate area and not on the streets. He also said that there should be a designated place at the Riverton disposal site for all meat to be dumped.
Baker also urged consumers not to buy meat with an odour or that was discoloured. “Consumers should buy meat from legitimate sources,” he said.
He said that over the last 18 months public health inspectors in conjunction with the police have seized a considerable amount of unfit food.
Dr Carrington, at the same time, said that two per cent of the 33.7 million kilos of poultry inspected by the KSA Public Health Department in 2014 was condemned, while one per cent of the 27.3 million kilos of red meat inspected was condemned.
She also said that 0.6 per cent of 213 million kilos of assorted imported food inspected was condemned.