Efforts are under way by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management to replace the cold storage facility at the Six Roads Public Market in St. Philip.
This will be part of overall plans to refurbish the facility which includes the main building, the food court and the flea market area.
This was revealed by Manager of Markets, Henderson Greaves, who explained that there were two meat chill rooms at Six Roads and over time, the ministry had spent a considerable amount of money in repairing the smaller of the two units.
He said due to the age of the cold storage equipment and the rising cost of repairs, the Ministry of Agriculture took the decision, on the advice of its technical staff, to replace the obsolete unit.
The manager disclosed that quotations were submitted for the replacement of the chill storage unit and work is expected to be completed at Six Roads in the new financial year 2013.
Greaves explained that this new unit would be ozone friendly and would accommodate approximately 110 carcasses.
The agricultural official stressed that the Ministry has responsibility for food safety at the market and, therefore, would not wish to compromise the health of patrons if the chiller shuts down.
He pointed out that a number of operational procedures have been put in place to assist the freelance licensed butchers and farmers who wished to have their animals slaughtered at the Six Roads facility.
These are: daily slaughtering with a maximum of 60 animals; slaughtering would be done daily instead of the usual two days; and animals will be accepted from farmers who use the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation’s cold storage facilities. Those animals would be slaughtered first and allowed to cool for three to four hours before transporting is allowed to the BADMC.
In addition, the day’s “kill” would then be loaded into the only chill room available which has a capacity for 60 carcasses. These will remain for 12 hours to allow the aging process to take place and collection would take place the next day by the respective owners.
Greaves said butchers and farmers were also advised to use the BADMC’s cold storage facility for additional space. Farmers are, therefore, encouraged to liaise with the BADMC’s management to work out an arrangement to use its refrigerated vehicle to assist with transporting their carcasses to that facility.