Gov’t: Christmas beef inspections necessary

Farmers preparing Christmas beef are being reminded that there is a set procedure in place to ensure safe delivery of meat to consumers.

The process involves inspections being conducted by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environmental Health to ensure safety standards are met.

Antemortem inspections, which are the examinations of all animals prior to slaughter, must be carried out and are done by the Department of Agriculture. After slaughter inspections, which determine whether the carcasses are deemed safe for human consumption, must be done by the Department of Environmental Health.

Gideon Simms, Environmental Health food safety officer, reminded the public that for their own health and safety they should be vigilant and not buy or consume meat from animals that have not been inspected and passed as fit for food consumption.

“In cases where local meat is being offered for sale without Environmental Health certification, the Department should be notified immediately, as this is against the law,” Mr. Simms said.

Under the Public Health Law, only local meat that bears the Environmental Health ‘inspection passed’ stamp is deemed fit for food and it is an offense for butchers to sell local meat, whether whole or in part, without being inspected and approved by the Department Environmental Health.

Due to the large number of requests, butchers are reminded that they should call early to schedule inspections. Both departments must be contacted at least 48 hours ahead of the proposed slaughter time.

For antemortem inspections, contact the Department of Agriculture on 947-3090, and for postmortem inspections, contact the Department of Environmental Health on 949-6696. For other information, and to make arrangement for inspections, contact Mr. Simms on 925-4582.

Festive season

During the festive season in the Cayman Islands, local residents enjoy many traditional Christmas dishes using fresh local meat. As a result of this increase in demand, there is an increase in the number of animals slaughtered by local butchers.

Although Cayman farmers still prefer the old way of slaughtering animals under the tree or in constructed chop shops around the island, the use of the Lower Valley Agriculture abattoir is available to the farming community.

Back in the olden days, preparations were made six weeks in advance for the Christmas festivities.

Special cows and pigs were selected to be fattened and set aside for slaughter. Cakes and biscuits were baked and the best of everything was prepared for those two festive weeks of parties, picnics, dances and concerts.
The women’s preparation of the mouth-watering cuts of seasoned beef and pork was an art in itself with recipes lovingly handed down from grandmother, mother to daughter.