by Anicia Antoine
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security, and Rural Development has partnered with the Department of Environmental Health to host a Meat Inspection Program.
The session is a two-part training program primarily targeted at officers from the Livestock Division and the Department of Environmental Health. The training included both a practical and theoretical session on how to conduct proper antemortem and postmortem inspections. An antemortem inspection is performed on an animal before slaughter, whereas a post mortem inspection is performed after slaughter.
According to the Animal Health Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Columbus Phillipe, while Saint Lucia is not known to have any diseases that would render carcasses unsafe; there are conditions that can render the meat’s quality unmarketable. He emphasized the importance of inspections in protecting public health by ensuring that carcasses and parts entering commerce are wholesome and disease-free.
“Both ministries are suffering from a lack of resources in terms of manpower. Many of the old guys so to speak are on their way out and we’re seeking to train the younger members of staff via this in-house training program assisted by PAHO. We are trying to pass on knowledge and information to the younger staff so that they can carry out inspections when senior members leave.”
PAHO Consultant, Claudius Prospere said that whilst antemortem and post mortem training is necessary and informative, the onus is on the participants to continue to improve their skill sets.
“We are hoping that this training session serves as a springboard where they can do further research and continue this kind of inspection themselves, so that they will be well versed.”
Before slaughtering animals for commerce, livestock butchers/farmers should contact the Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary and Livestock Division. Consumers are also urged to exercise caution and safety when purchasing meat products.