by Linda Straker
- At present, there is no registration of butchers
- Butcher’s Act 1958 provides for a penalty of EC$1,000
Grenada’s 1958 Butcher’s Act (Cap 43 of 1958) is among legislations that are set to be reviewed and amended as government undertakes a process of strengthening food safety measures as it pertains to the purchasing and killing of animals for human consumption.
The Butcher’s Act (An Act to regulate the purchase and killing of animals by butchers) states that it shall not be lawful for any person to carry on the business of a butcher without having obtained a licence for that purpose, and any person acting in contravention shall be guilty of an offence. The legislation which has never amended since 1958 provides for a penalty of EC$1,000.
At present, there is no registration of butchers which according to the law should be the responsibility of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. According to the legislation, EC$12 should be the cost for a licence in the Town of St George and its immediate environment, EC$5 in other towns and EC$3 in other places.
“The Permanent Secretary shall cause to be published in the Gazette the name, place of residence, and place of business of every licenced butcher,” the legislation mandates.
Agriculture Minister Yolande Bain-Horsford said that government will be reviewing several legislations and will amend where necessary and or introduce where necessary, legislation that will regulate the sector because over the years butchers have failed to comply with the legislation.
“What has been happening over the years, if you look around in the communities, people just hold an animal and kill it. Inspectors don’t even turn up and we are not sure whether the meat is safe or not. We are looking at pulling all of this now and put it into one package to make sure that this is controlled,” said Bain-Horsford who gave the assurance all the legislations that relate to butchering will be reviewed.
“Nobody will be slaughtering animals on the roadside or wherever…The abattoir in Mirabeau is where all of these animals will be going to be slaughtered, nowhere else will be used when this whole thing is compiled and organised,” she said, disclosing that her ministry will be working closely with the Ministry of Health.
“Butchering without inspection is something we should not condone because clearly it could have a negative impact on health. The animal might be sick, suffering from something and if that passes through, consumers could be at great risk for diseases,” said Chief Agricultural Officer Daniel Lewis, who explained that getting the butchers and others involved in that sector is a work in progress, but Grenada’s intention is to make sure all butchers are certified and registered.