Vendors say coconuts clean
COCONUT VENDORS in the Warrens, St Michael area say there is little chance of anyone contracting leptospirosis from their coconuts, since they sanitise them with clorox.
On Sunday, a DAILY NATION team visited the area to investigate the possibility of people getting leptospirosis from the fruit, especially those individuals who used a piece from the side as a spoon to extract the jelly.
While there, all the vendors reported that they washed their coconuts thoroughly with clorox water before selling them to customers.
In last week’s SATURDAY SUN, director of the Barbados Leptospira Laboratory, Dr Marquita Gittens-St Hilaire, announced that eating with a “spoon” cut from an unwashed coconut shell could make one seriously ill with leptospirosis.
Though there have been no local reports of anyone contracting the rodent-borne disease by this method, Gittens-St Hilaire has warned Barbadians that it could happen.
Vendor Thani Jordan said it was his duty to wash his coconuts but customers who wanted jelly brought their own spoons and bowls.
“Coconut water is so healthy that I don’t even feel that the rat could outdo the coconut water. I remember a man used to come here because he was bitten by a mouse and his doctor instructed him to drink coconut water every day. He good now. That’s to show how powerful coconut water is,” said Jordan.
Meanwhile, another vendor who preferred to remain anonymous, confirmed that he supplied local supermarkets with coconut water, so “all of our coconuts are spick and span”.
“We can’t afford to play around with people’s health. . . . We wash down our coconuts with bleach water. I don’t know about other vendors but that is what we do here. And we don’t sell jelly because it’s a waste of time. We give away jelly to people who want and [they] bring them own spoon to dig out the jelly.”
Stephan Bertram admitted that because of his clientele, which is made up of doctors, lawyers and government ministers, he makes sure his coconuts are thoroughly cleansed.
“We don’t play around here, everything is properly cleaned. We use clorox as a steriliser out here. We wash the coconuts with the clorox water on mornings before we even come on the road. We even sterilise our funnels and strainers and our hands before we start,” he stated.
While at Bertram’s stall, a customer who preferred not to gave his name indicated that “coming up as a youngster I never heard about people catching leptospirosis from cutting a spoon to eat coconut jelly yet, never”.
He added: “On our market there is a lot of jelly coming from those Asian nations in cans. The aim of our local supermarkets is to get a production plan like that here so that the vendors on the road would got to be working for them.”