According to Dr Dawes, who was the senior medical officer at May Pen Hospital in Clarendon from 1975-2008, consumers would have to be eating the corned beef consistently and over a long time, for them to become ill.
Dr Dawes, who has a private practice in Half-Way Tree and May Pen, said, for someone to become ill from the product, would “depend on how rotten the meat is and how much of the meat was consumed. It could be rotting to a stage where it is contaminated with tuberculosis and salmonella, that would be bad.”
However, he added, “I believe that the makers of the product would not be using straight rotten meat. It would be more like rotting meat and they would mix it with normal meat, sterlise it and add additives.
“This would not be lethal, but it is just the thought of you eating rotting meat,” he said.
Dr Dawes, however, did not recommend members of the public to eat corned beef at this time.
Many Jamaicans, especially on social media, have stated that they will continue to eat the product, despite the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries advising not to.
The ministry, on Monday, imposed an immediate ban on the importation of corned beef from Brazil following reports from Brazilian authorities that several major meat processors in that country have been “selling rotten beef and poultry”.
Dr Dawes said, “I don’t think that it would be a high percentage that would be rotting, but it could be the start of a slippery slope, as they could start adding more (rotting) meat and additives to the process, which could have a negative impact.”
Dr. Dawes, who have also been a past president of the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ), is calling on the authorities to reanalyse the process of how food is being brought into the island.
“It is a good time to start looking at the food sector and the food that we import. Some of the standards put on our local producers are not being adhered to by the producers in other countries,” he said.