Senior Veterinary Specialist in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Suzan McLennon-Miguel, says a robust food safety programme is being developed for Jamaica.
She explained that a part of the programme requires updating the present regulations and the establishment of agriculture surveillance programmes for crops and animal production.
The inputs from these programmes will feed into the National Foodborne Surveillance programme which monitors the food being produced and traded to reduce food fraud, contamination and to ensure all foods from the farm are properly labelled for traceability.
“This means we’re going to have to set up checks and balances along the food chain starting from the farm. It means we’re going to go to farmers to check their systems and take samples for farm certification,” she explained.
Dr. McLennon-Miguel was speaking against the background of today (June 7) being observed as World Food Safety Day, which was first proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly last December.
Food safety has a critical role in ensuring that food stays safe at every stage of the food chain - from production to harvest, processing, storage, distribution, all the way to preparation and consumption.
Dr. McLennon-Miguel also noted that farmers should have their own system of checks and balances, as good agricultural practices require proper record keeping.
“We will also be visiting the farms checking their water source and quality; monitoring the use of chemicals or pesticides that they are being followed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and adhere to the withdrawal periods. All of this is important for a robust food safety programme,” she emphasized.
To observe the first staging of World Food Safety Day, the National Codex Committee, a multisectoral working group of food safety Regulators and Industry players, will host a forum at the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Winchester Road offices in Kingston today.
The Rural Agricultural Development Authority in St. James will also be a part of this forum by way of simultaneous weblink with food safety stakeholders in that part of the island.
Dr. McLennon-Miguel, who is also Chairperson of the National Codex Committee, said the event is aimed at raising the awareness of food safety and the government activities that are geared towards safeguarding food in Jamaica and food exports to the world.
The BSJ is the Codex Contact Point for Jamaica and has been functioning as the liaison between local stakeholders and the Codex Alimentarius Commission, commonly referred to as Codex in setting international food standards.
Codex aims to protect consumer health and fair practices in the global food trade, through its internationally recognized food standards and guidelines.
The theme this year of World Food Safety Day is “Food Safety is Everyone’s Business.” It calls on everyone to play their part to make food safety a way of life, whether you are a farmer, processor, distributor or consumer.
Welcome to the official website of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) has been charged with the responsibility of driving the integration of the production of primary agricultural produce along all the stages of the supply chain through to value added and facilitating full commercialization of outputs of the agriculture, manufacturing, and service sectors.
We have, therefore, placed much energy and enthusiasm into the development of this website to provide timely information on the Ministry, our agencies and programmes.
4 St. Lucia Avenue, Kingston 5, Jamaica
Telephone: (876) 968-7116
Fax: (876) 960-7422
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Telephone: (876) 927-1731-50 / (876) 619-1731