Following report of the sale of rotten fish and poultry products at the Paynesville Red Light General Market by some unscrupulous Lebanese merchants, authorities of the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA have reportedly launched a probe of the incident.
A source from the EPA said the Agency is investigating Africa #1 Cold Storage situated in Paynesville Red Light in connection with the recent auction of the perishable frozen items on the market.
The source disclosed that the EPA's investigation followed intelligence received from its field agents, which indicates that Africa #1 business establishment was engaged in the sale of the badly decomposed poultry products.
The source continued that EPA agents, who visited the cold storage on Tuesday, 14 March observed huge pollution in two compartments of the frozen rooms. Initially, our source said, the management of the cold storage refused to allow the inspection of its facilities on grounds that there was no rotten or expired item in its storage.
But following persistence of EPA investigators, the inspection was allowed and the team discovered that part of the facilities inspected had rotten frozen stuffs, evidenced by pollution in the cold storage.
Meanwhile, a female (name withheld) who was earlier apprehended with a consignment of the expired products, told investigators that she purchased the item from Africa #1 Cold Storage for about L$800.00 per bag.
According to the suspect, she bought five bags of the filthy frozen materials from the Lebanese-owned business which was later arrested by state security officers at a parking station, loaded in a wheelbarrow.
She also disclosed that she and some workers of the cold storage had been in the illegal transaction for a long time, prior to the recent arrest. The management of Africa #1 has persistently denied selling rotten fish and chicken parts, but said the company often assists some of its customers in storing their goods after they get through with business transaction.
The management also disclosed that in the process, those whose goods are kept in the facility would not return to collect their materials so they get rotten in the cold storage.
The New Dawn in its Tuesday, March 16 edition published a story, detailing the sale of contaminated frozen fish and chicken to the public in violation of EPA and Commerce Ministry's regulations.
By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne