Contributed by: Don WinnerThe sale of the traditional meat and sausages on a stick - always a favorite of street vendors during Carnival - is causing a controversy in Chitre and Penonomé after government authorities in those cities announced restrictions against those to engage in this business. In Chitre, the Carnival Board decided to ban the sale of these products, because they think the sticks might be used as stabbing weapons by criminals. Meanwhile, health authorities in Coclé announced they will be vigilant of these vendors, because there have been cases where sticks that have been discarded by customers have been reused by the vendors, putting the public health at risk. Those who are caught in this unhealthy practice will be shut down and assigned fines and penalties of between $5,000 to $10,000 dollars, officials warned. (Source: El Siglo)
Editor's Comment: I consider the traditional "carne en palito" or meat on a stick to be a kind of Carnival survival food. You can ask the vendor to basically cook the crap out of it (literally) and if it's hot enough then hopefully any potential bad stuff will be killed off by the heat. When I was stationed at Howard Air Force Base back in the 1980's there was a Don Lee restaurant on Farfan. Health inspectors on base made a surprise inspection and they found about a dozen Coatimundis hanging in the freezer. When questioned, the workers at the restaurant very seriously responded "What, those? No, we don't feed that to the gringos - we take that home..." The place was closed on the spot. When eating "carne en palito" it's best not to ask too many questions - just make sure it's well cooked, wash it down with another beer, and hope for the best. Here, kitty kitty...