Categorized | National News

Conch Vendors Face Shut Down

Government officials are taking a hard stance against conch vendors who do not have access to fresh water at their stalls.

Health Minister Dr. Duane sands in a press conference last week said that there is legislation that allows for government to shut down businesses that do not comply with health standards.

While he stressed that this is not the Ministry of Health’s goal for those who fail to comply with the measures put in place to mitigate against a further increase in conch poisoning, the Ministry may be forced to shut down and revoke the licenses of vendors who do not comply.

At last report, the confirmed number of conch poisoned persons were 27 with another 22 cases awaiting lab results with all indications that the vibrio parahaemalyticus bacteria is becoming increasingly difficult to treat.

While the threat of a shutdown would affect the pocketbooks of conch vendors, Godfrey Pinder of Mckenzie’s Fresh Fish and Conch at Potter’s Cay agrees that shut downs are warranted.

“If they don’t have no fresh water, they don’t need to make no salad and if it’s making people sick, then they shouldn’t be selling.

“Seeing that that’s the problem , then they need to get rid of the problem and they will have to find something else to do because everybody out here knows exactly what to do with conch,” Mr. Pinder said.

Dr. Sands said inspection teams will be on the ground to verify that the recommendations for conch preparations are being followed.

However, fellow Potter’s Cay stall owner, Tyrone Darling said this should have been long been taking place.

“They’re saying there’s a lot of poisoning, but I don’t see any health inspectors or anybody coming around checking the water and inspecting the stalls.

“I know years ago they use to do it, when we had the three and four outbreaks, but now they’re saying it’s up to 27, but I don’t see no health inspectors,” he said.

Conch poisoning is caused by eating raw conch contaminated with the vibrio parahaemalyticus bacteria, which normally lives in seawater; in tropical temperatures like The Bahamas.

As Dr. Sands explained, with ongoing climate change affecting seawater temperatures, the organism increases, particularly in the summer months.

Bangs Owner, Edward Mcphee has a different theory. He says that sewerage leaking into the surrounding seawater is the cause of the conch poisoning outbreak.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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