Samuda hails police after shutdown of illegal slaughterhouse

Friday, August 18, 2017

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MINISTER of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda has hailed the Jamaica Constabulary Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit for its quick action on the weekend, which resulted in the arrest of four men and seizure of more than 2,000 pounds of uninspected meat.

An illegal slaughterhouse was also closed.

The lawmen, who were acting on information, made the find after trailing men from St Thomas to an address in St Andrew last Saturday.

The St Andrew address is believed to be a hub for the collection of stolen meat, which is then passed off to meat shops for sale.

In a release yesterday, Minister Samuda said the action of the police has made a major dent in the illegal meat trade and sends a strong signal that praedial larceny will not be tolerated.

“This is stolen meat which was handled in incredibly unsanitary conditions. I have to commend the Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit, because without their quick action, this meat could no doubt have made its way into our homes,” Samuda said.

In the meantime, the agriculture minister has asked that police officers across Jamaica step up their investigation of praedial larceny cases.

“If we are to really break the back of praedial larceny in Jamaica, which costs our farmers over $5 billion annually, there must be regular patrols of farming districts. There needs to be an increase in police presence in areas where praedial larceny is prevalent and vehicles transporting agricultural produce should also be regularly stopped and searched to ensure they have been legally obtained,” Samuda said.

He noted in the release that the Government is pursuing legislative amendments to change the definition of praedial larceny to include livestock and fisheries and fines under the Agricultural Produce Act are to be increased to a maximum of $3 million or up to five years' imprisonment.

Samuda added that the agriculture ministry has also strengthened the traceability of livestock through the National Animal Identification and Traceability System and other agricultural produce through the receipt book system.

The minister is calling on consumers to ensure that they purchase meat and other commodities only from authorised individuals appropriately licensed in accordance with the Public Health Act and other regulations.

It is a requirement under law that all meats must be inspected, stamped and passed fit for human consumption prior to being sold or consumed.

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