Upon hearing the name Riverton Meadows, one thinks of the landfill, Jamaica's largest dump which is operated by the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA).
But, according to the residents, the community is the feeding pot for a lot of Jamaicans who unknowingly consume a lot of food items, like fish and chicken, that are found at the dump.
In an interview with THE STAR, Jane Brown* said that she has been selling the rejected and expired items for years, and noted that this is her only source of income. She claims to have a refrigerator stocked with different types of meat, including chicken, pork, beef, and liver. She added that she also caters to the seafood lovers, selling containers of fish, oysters, shrimp and lobsters.
In addition to the meats, she said she also sells diapers, canned food and juices. Although some of the products have already expired, she said that they are in high demand from her customers, most of whom, she said, reside outside of the community.
"Me nuh sell date, enuh, Miss, me sell goods. Check all my tings dem and see seh dem good. And even if the date pass di shelf life, it nuh mean it expire fi eat. A nuff people can't afford to go buy the tings dem inna the topanaris supermarket dem, so dem buy from we and prepare the same meal dem weh uptown people a nyam," she said.
Brown's goods are delivered sometimes weekly or bimonthly by truck men, who are instructed to dump the items at the landfill. But instead of dumping the products, she said they are sold to residents at a very affordable cost.
"Is a struggle and war fi get the tings dem sometimes because when the truck dem come, people jump on the truck and claim dem. Sometimes the driver dem just park and come out a it, and when you look, dem not even have to bother go dump cause it empty," she said between laughter.
When THE STAR contacted Audley Gordon, executive director at the NSWMA, he was not able to provide a comment at the time.
However, this is not the first time that the issue has come to the fore. In 2015, The Sunday Gleaner reported that meat dumped at the Riverton landfill were being sold openly in downtown Kingston.
This was again confirmed by Brown, who said that the dumped chicken is sold in the market district for $100 per pound, while other meat kinds such as mutton and pork go for $120 pound. Lobster, which usually has a retail price of $1,500, can be purchased at a reduced price of $300.
"Nuff time when you go dung a town and see the people dem a sell cheap, weh you think dem get it from? A dem our kids eat and a bare healthy good body children me see a run up and down a Riverton," Brown added.
According to Brown, she is just one of many sellers of the rejected items. She said that it is a booming business with a clientele that includes dozens of wholesalers, retailers and even supermarkets.