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Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, has noted the need to develop proper abattoirs for the flow of meat to commercial outlets.
“By doing this, we will ensure not only that our meats are handled under hygienic conditions, but will be able to trace every animal that enters the abattoirs,” Dr. Tufton said during his contribution to the 2010/11 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 29).
Currently there are over 1,100 slaughter places islandwide, of which only 352 are registered with the relevant authorities.
“They are inadequately supervised and woefully lacking in the kind of facilities that would ensure proper and hygienic handling of our meats,” Dr. Tufton said.
He added that Jamaica does not need 1,100 slaughter places, noting that the Ministry has since commissioned another study, with the assistance of the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), to determine the optimum number of abattoirs required, their locations as well as costing and financial models for their operations.
He said that the intention is to establish five to six modern multi-purpose regional abattoirs, operated as a public/private partnership. Concomitantly, the Ministry will initiate a review of existing regulations, to support a policy for all meats destined for export and the hotel trade, in the first instance, to pass through these certified abattoirs.
In the meantime, the Ministry will seek to refurbish smaller facilities, at the community level, to deal with meat for consumption in those locales. It is expect that this rationalization study will be completed in July, with work to begin shortly after.