TALKBACK: Some call for coconut vendors to clean up
RECENTLY, environmental health inspector David Nightengale issued a warning to consumers about purchasing coconut water from roadside vendors.
Nightengale, who is attached to the David Thompson Health and Social Services Complex in St John, said some vendors, especially those who were unregistered, practised poor hygiene.
Not only did this include the way in which they handled the coconuts, but it also extended to personal hygiene. Nightengale said many of them did not have running water or toilet facilities.
Some online readers spoke of their practices, while others came out in support of the vendors.
Sandrea Butcher: Since the coconut water is ingested by consumers, the coconut water “industry” needs to be regulated. Something as simple as a hairnet should be used. Let the vendors register, ensure that they follow established protocols (especially removal of refuse every day) and drag them into the tax net. A bottle of coconut water is $12. They sell at least 50 per day, that is $3 000 per week; sounds “VAT-able” to me.
Alex Alleyne: Has been for years; also those who selling cane ready to use.
Canute: And I quote: “There are some vendors on the street who practise poor hygiene.” Why, pray tell, are these vendors still allowed to operate? How come they can get the coconuts to their stalls but are allowed to leave the mountains of shells at the roadside? Can an “unregistered” restaurant without health certificates for its food handlers conduct business?
Nikki Bayley: How come the “environmental health inspector” doesn’t require coconut vendors to clean up their discarded coconuts at the end of every day?
Samud Ali: Seems like there needs to be a serious look at all food vendors when you think about it. I do enjoy a good cook food from a van but I never see a health certificate displayed or facilities. Not trying to stop persons making much-needed money, but if it’s done right, increase in revenue is quite possible.
Michelle Griffith: Was saying this for a while now, because, as he has mentioned, most of these vendors don’t wash the coconuts before putting them out there for customers to purchase and everyone knows rats live in coconut trees. Just looking at some of the vendors and how their surroundings are kept is a turn-off. I refuse to buy coconut water and even if I pick a coconut from a tree, I always wash if first before it is even cut. Same thing as with sugar cane.
Jantje Scott Caesar: Somebody now trying to stop vendors from making a dollar because they have a better marketing plan to make money, but I will always buy my coconut water from the streets. Never “mek” me sick yet.
Gregory Adamson: It’s about time that the vendors and personnel using this service in our beautiful island show some pride.
Sandra Linton McDowell: After they cut them, use a straw when giving to the customers. Case closed. After all, you are not licking the outside of the coconuts.
• Sherrylyn Toppin is The Nation’s Online Editor.