Minister warns of contaminated wild meat
Photo: Illegally imported wild meat which was confiscated in 2017. Photo courtesy the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries.
The Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries is warning of illegally imported wild meat which could carry diseases, including leptospirosis and leprosy.
In a social media update, Minister Clarence Rambharat said in light of advertisements for wild meat across the country, the public should be aware of the possibility that some of that meat might be illegally imported and contaminated.
“Wild-meat Sale!!”. Be warned! As I see wild meat sales being advertised for this weekend, be on your alert. I flashback to last October’s seizure of thousands of pounds of decaying wild meat from Venezuela. It included over 100s of agouti, and large amounts of deer, wildhog, lappe and tattoo."
"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...Be on your guard."
(Photo: A store in North Trinidad advertising wild meat for sale.)
Rambarat said illegally imported wild meat is often treated with a chemical to mask the smell of decay and is sold frozen or thawed out.
Decaying meat, or meat washed in river water, or not kept at the right temperature may cause food poisoning or might even be fatal.
Armadillos (Tattoos) can carry leprosy
(Photo courtesy Wikipedia)
Armadillos, locally known as tattoos, can carry leptospirosis and leprosy. According to Smithsonian, armadillos are the only other animals besides humans to host the leprosy bacillus.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection obtained from animals including cattle, sheep, goats and deer.
Leprosy (Hansen's disease) is an infectious disease which can affect the nerves of hands, feet, nose, skin and respiratory tract.
In 2011, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article formally linked the creature to human leprosy cases—people and armadillos tested in the study both shared the same exact strain of the disease.
Experts say the easiest way to avoid contagion is to simply avoid contact with the animals, including hunting, skinning or eating them.
Rambharat added that fines for hunting protected animals will also be increased to $10,000 from January 1, 2019, according to the Finance Bill, 2018, which was passed in the Lower House on December 13, 2018.