Meat fire raises eyebrows in St. Rose

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 2, 2001


ST. ROSE – The noxious smoke and burning embers drifted across the Mississippi River levee near the St. Charles/Jefferson parishes line and the 9-1-1 phone lines lit up Wednesday afternoon. As a result, a controlled burn of 1,812 pounds of meat, imported on April 25 from Uruguay, was halted by the St. Rose Volunteer Fire Department and the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office. The fire was in a pit behind the levee, less than 100 yards from the Kenner line. Fire Chief Doyle Veneralla said only “agricultural debris” was being disposed of by Lower River Marine, who claimed they had all the proper permits for burning the beef. However, Capt. Patrick Yoes of the St. Charles Sheriff’s Office said the permit covered the burning of wood debris. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had banned beef imported from Uruguay April 1 to head off suspected diseased meat, including possible hoof-in-mouth disease. However, this shipment arrived after the date of the ban and had to either be returned to Uruguay or disposed of, according to Willie Stafford of the USDA New Orleans office. It was not known whether this specific shipment of beef contained any disease or contaminants, Stafford added. A representative of the USDA was on hand at the burn, but refused comment. The remainder of the meat, will be properly disposed of.