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Clean coconuts from us, say vendors

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Monday Sept 27, 2010 – Coconut vendors in the Warrens, St Michael area, says there is no chance of anyone contracting leptospirosis from their coconuts, because they sanitise them.Early yesterday morning a 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 and eat it. The vendors at that location say they wash their coconuts thoroughly with Clorox water before selling them to customers.Last Saturday, director of the Barbados Leptospira Laboratory, Dr Marquita Gittens-St Hilaire said eating with a “spoon” cut from an unwashed coconut shell can make you 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 says it is his duty to wash his coconuts but customers who want 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 use to come here because he was bitten by a mice and his doctor instructed him to drink coconut water everyday, he good now. That’s to show how powerful coconut water is. And even people come by me and buy coconut water, I would give them straws,” says Jordan.Another vendor who preferred to remain anonymous, says 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 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 who want bring them own spoon to dig out the jelly.” Stephan Bertran, another vendor, says 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.” (Anesta Henry)

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