MINISTER of Agriculture Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat is warning the public about the consumption of wild meat that has been brought into Trinidad and Tobago illegally.
In a Facebook post Rambharat said, “Consumers of wild meat are reminded to be on the lookout for meat being brought into the country illegally.
“This meat may be harmful for human consumption.
“Illegal meat is treated with a chemical to mask the scent of decay and is sold frozen or thawed out.
“Decaying meat, meat washed in unhygienic river water, and meat not kept at the right temperature can sicken and possibly kill you. Be on your guard.”
The hunting season began on October 1 and ends on February 29, 2020.
Rambharat said, “In the early hours last Tuesday (October 1), opening day of the hunting season, I saw photos of frozen wild meat appearing and then photos of carcasses.
“Not long after I saw wild meat dealers offering unlimited wild meat for sale.”
He said, “This morning (Sunday) law enforcement intercepted a significant amount of wild meat carcasses most likely from South America destined for sale to unsuspecting consumers locally.
“Three TT nationals were arrested and charges are being laid. The carcasses include agouti, tattoo, wild hog, lappe and deer.
“As I see wild meat sales being advertised, be on your alert for similarities in appearance and condition to what is being seized by law enforcement.
“Roasted, cut-up, seasoned or prepared food involving wild meat should be examined closely. Illegally imported wild meat could be passed off as local wild meat.
“In October 2018 law enforcement seized thousands of pounds of decaying wild meat from Venezuela. It included over 100s of agouti, and large amounts of deer, wild hog, lappe and tattoo.”
Rambharat said, “The illegal trade with Venezuela does not stop at wild meat. A second interception by law enforcement today included 29 large blocks of homemade cheese, cut fruit and large packages of smoke meat- all with signs of decay and in some cases maggots and flies.
“The real danger in this is when this ends up in our food supply chain-sanitised, cut-up, seasoned and cooked.”