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We are once again being reminded of the importance of having a fully documented Food Safety Management System and for this system to be implemented in the organisation.  Recent headline confirms this importance where Caribbean Soft Drinks resulted in 1 confirmed death among UK consumer....

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The Food Standards Agency continues with the quest to protect UK consumers from fraudulent practices from the industry through tests to determine particular meat species through DNA testing.  The recent horsemeat scandal has prompted more vigilence by the Agencies to monitor the food chain for adulterated foods.....

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The Importance of a Food Safety Management System with Traceability 

Are Consumers being protected by Food Law... Recent headline shows chickens being pumped with up to a fifth water which obviously affect the weight of the chicken and price being sold on to the consumer.  This is not illegal, but it must be declared on the label

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Approved Premises and the importance of ensuring your premises is Approved for processing foods of animal origin.  The EU Directive 253/2004 sets guidelines for European firms to seek approval with their relevant local authority to ensure food produced from animal origin is done soon under strict hygiene and safety guideliness.  The latest case of person attempting to sell food from unapproved establishment resulted in the Food Standards Agency intervention....

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Are supermarkets returning to Frankenstein foods?

On sale in Tesco, GM cereal that makes children hyperactive: U.S. import of Lucky  Charms contain artificial colours that UK watchdog urges manufacturers to avoid.Imported Lucky Charms can have adverse effects on children's behaviour. It is marketed as nutritious, but contains four suspect colourings.

A Frankenstein food breakfast cereal designed for children and packed with additives linked to bad behaviour and hyperactivity is being sold in Britain. Lucky Charms, which is imported from the US, is the first mainstream GM food to go on sale in this country.



The cereal, which is being sold by Tesco, is at the vanguard of what GM advocates hope will be numerous products to arrive in kitchens here. Its use of genetically modified corn is buried in small print on the package.

GM corn has been eaten in the US for more than a decade. However, critics of the technology argue that not enough research has been carried out to ensure these foods are safe.

Most GM corn plants have been modified in the laboratory to contain a toxin that kills pests that feed on them.

Potentially more alarming is the fact that the cereal contains a number of artificial colours that the Food Standards Agency urges manufacturers not to use because research found a possible association with hyperactivity in young children.


Find out more and read the whole Story  Daily Mail 


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Labelling appeal victory

Corin Williams

Prosecutions against firms selling frozen food beyond its ‘use by’ date have been put on a firm footing after a Welsh council won a landmark ruling at the Supreme Court. Torfaen Council took an appeal through the courts after magistrates threw out a clear-cut case of a butcher’s selling frozen items such as pig tongues beyond their given ‘use by’ date. The Supreme Court has now ordered the case be heard again by a different bench. The CIEH and Food Standards Agency (FSA) have welcomed the ruling.

The council originally took a prosecution against Douglas Willis Ltd, based in Cwmbran, in September 2011 after trading standards officers discovered a ‘number of packages’ of frozen meat with passed ‘use by’ dates. Some products were found to be 14 months beyond their date. In total, 23 charges were brought against the company under Regulation 44(1)(d) of the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 made under the Food Safety Act 1990.

But magistrates agreed with an argument put forward by the company that there was no proof that the food was ‘highly perishable’. The council then appealed to the High Court. This failed as judges agreed that frozen food was not highly perishable and therefore did not require a ‘use by’ date.

A further appeal to the Supreme Court, which was supported by the FSA, has now overturned that decision. Five Supreme Court justices unanimously agreed that not being able undertake such prosecutions would ‘seriously weaken the regulatory scheme and the protection provided to consumers’.

Torfaen head of trading standards Steve Whitehouse said the legal arguments outlined in the case had ‘significant importance’ for both EHPs and the UK’s food industry. ‘Local authorities have a statutory responsibility to enforce the provisions of the Food Safety Act which includes provisions governing food labelling and durability dates on foods,’ he said.

‘Part of this enforcement involves making sure the safety of consumers is protected and conducting inspections of food products at business premises with the aim of ensuring that businesses do not gain an advantage over competitors.’

A spokesperson for the FSA said: ‘The Supreme Court judgement now clarifies beyond doubt that food which has passed its “use by” date shouldn’t be sold to consumers.’

Julie Barratt, director of CIEH in Wales, said: ‘This kills off any argument that freezing or dehydrating or other such preservation mechanisms effectively suspend the food in time so that the “use by” period is no longer running.

‘It is, and once the food passes its “use by” date it is an offence to sell it. The clarification is extremely helpful to enforcing authorities as it closes the door on potential arguments about fitness and applicability.’

Find out more and visit Source of Article: EHN


School Meal Deaths in India 
At least 22 children aged 4-12 have been reported dead from eating free School meal.  This is indeed a tragedy and without a proactive documented Food Safety Management System in Place, could happen anywhere. Read More.....
DomRep denies avian flu outbreak
Sunday, June 09, 2013
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (CMC) -- Officials in the Dominican Republic have denied reports of an outbreak of avian flu adding that the World Health Organisation declared the country free of bird flu three years ago.
In a statement on Friday, the Dominican Ambassador to Haiti, Ruben Silie said Haiti erroneously reported that the neighbouring country had an outbreak of avian flu when it cited the disease as a reason for imposing a ban on the importation of meats, chicken, eggs and other products.
Last week Haiti’s Ministry of Commerce issued an indefinite ban on some food imports from the Dominican Republic following the death of five people.
On Tuesday, a Dominican Health official Rafael Schiffino attributed the death of the five, including two pregnant women, to swine flu and not avian flu.
Following news of the deaths health authorities in Haiti started to administer flu vaccines to pregnant women, senior citizens and children.
Records from the Government in the Dominican Republic state that 25 million eggs and eight million chickens are sold each year to Haiti.
If Haiti keep banning the chicken market, “we’ll lose 75 million pesos (US$2 million) said Manuel Escano, President of the Dominican Association of egg producers.
Find out more and visit Source of Article: Jamaica Observer
Letter Of The Day - Train Farmers In Chemical Safety
Published: Wednesday | November 28, 2012
I was so taken back to read, in The Gleaner of September 12, 2012, of the sad loss of two farmers through alleged chemical poisoning. This reinforces the need for training in health and safety and personal hygiene for farmers. Often, this group is forgotten, as farmers continue to use traditional methods to carry out work in the fields.
However, one must not forget the risks and the toxicity of some of these chemicals that rid crops of pests, as well as the dangers of using bare hands in carrying out certain activities in the soil.
We must ensure the highest level of safety in hand and body hygiene. The skin is the largest organ on the body and absorbs very easily chemicals and other agents to which it might be exposed. Likewise, the respiratory system needs to be protected, as this is another route for chemicals and other agents to enter our body.
There are also many bacteria and other microbes that live in soil, and so all workers should be educated on safe methods of farming and the need for the highest standard of hygiene, especially after handling chemicals and consumption of foods.
The Ministry of Agriculture, through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, must ensure that ongoing public awareness, through the media as well as seminars, is designed for our farmers, many of whom often work without the necessary safety gear.
The food-safety conference held recently by the Food Hygiene Bureau is an example of events that farmers and others who work in the field should be encouraged and facilitated to attend. Generally, none of these groups are in attendance at these educational events.
I think the Ministry of Agriculture should ensure an active programme of hygiene, health and safety education is directed at those who work in the field, as they are at increased risk of chemical and microbiological poisoning.
The much-talked-of occupational health and safety legislation for Jamaica is well overdue.
Find out more and visit Source of Article: Jamaica Gleaner 
Rice Contamination Reported In China
Published: Wednesday | May 22, 2013
Authorities are investigating rice mills in southern China following tests that found almost half of the staple grain in one of the country's largest cities was contaminated with a toxic metal. The mills in Hunan province's Youxian county were ordered to suspend business and recall their products after samples showed excessive levels of cadmium, according to an official notice issued Tuesday by the county government.
It said the mills had been operating legally and sourced their rice from local farmers. The announcement followed reports over the weekend that government inspectors discovered that 44.4 per cent of rice and rice products tested this year in the southern city of Guangzhou in Guangdong province showed high levels of cadmium. 
The carcinogenic metal can seriously damage the kidneys and cause other health problems. Hunan is a heavily agricultural province that borders on Guangdong, although it wasn't clear if there was a direct connection between the mills and Guangzhou's tainted rice. While investigations are continuing, cadmium is believed to have.........
Read the whole Article and visit Source of Article : Jamaica Gleaner
May 24th , 2013                 
Media Advisory 
March in Support of a Ban and control on Genetically Modified Foods as Sustainable food supply in Jamaica
The March for labeling and ban of Genetically modified foods and crops will be held at Half Way Tree, Kingston, Jamaica on Saturday 24th May 2013 from 9am-12pm.  The March will be held by Consumer Care. The Food Hygiene Bureau fully supports the work of this organization in its mandate for a safe food supply for our nation.  The Food Hygiene Bureau mission to “Protect Consumer Health” view this march as pivotal in this change!
In 2012 Jamaica imported food bill was 1billion US dollars, 90% of that is GMO or has GMO ingredients in them e.g. soy products, corn, processed foods including Baby formulas, ice cream, cows milk etc.  Majority of our imports are from countries where GM engineering and crops are allowed, e.g. USA and Canada and yet we have no labeling regulations or checks being carried out at our Ports of entry for this important control. The Food Hygiene Bureau calls on our Government to protect our islands food supply, to promote our traditional crops and support our farmers in producing locally grown Jamaican foodstuffs and therefore reducing the large food imported bill.  This can be achieved through taxes, checks at our ports and mandatory labeling of all food containing GM ingredients both locally produced as well as imported.
It’s important to empower people with information they need to make their own healthy choices.  People have the right to make decisions based on accurate transparency in labeling. We believe knowledge is power.  We implore all Jamaicans to support the march tomorrow through Consumer care and demonstrate peacefully for a change in our Food Safety Policy that allows GM ingredients and GM foods and the possibility of seeds importation without controls!
When: May 23rd, 2013

Where: Half Way Tree, Kingston, Jamaica, W.I.
Why should you Care about Genetically Modified Foods 
Genetically engineering of foods….The ability to change the DNA of our food crops through gene manipulation and therefore change the nature of our food nutritional value. Monsanto’s aim is to control the world food supply with the belief to us that we have no choice as food security is at risk and if we do not adopt this technology we will be in a state of famine where we will not be able to feed ourselves.  This is far from the truth as studies have shown that where countries have harness GM crops, they have suffered more severely. 
The technology of Genetically engineered crops have the ability to change the natural fauna and is a threat to our natural environment.  Recent studies have shown serious health effects even for cattles who consumer the crop leaves of GM foods and that farmers will become seed dependent and will have to give undertaking to Monsanto for risks arising from GM crop cultivation on their farm.  
Jamaican cuisine has been described as the eclectic mix of Taíno, African, European, Indian and Chinese cuisines, a veritable melting pot of delectable gastronomy.  There is something in that piece of ground called Jamaica or Xaymaca that gives a fresh, distinctive, full-flavoured taste to foods that are grown in its soil.  Local creativity and the rich variety of foods, spices and herbs grown on the Island allows Jamaica to offer to the world a truly delicious, satisfying and healthy culinary experience, that is rich in the use of farm fresh ingredients and health-preserving herbs such as ginger, garlic, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and “scotch bonnet” hot peppers. Tourist and locals travel distances near and far to experience this delightful and healthy culinary tradition. 
GM foods entering Jamaica and then being commercialized in Jamaica threaten our export market potential to the rest of the world outside of the USA and Canada. At a time when we are being encouraged to export to the EU, but the EU doesn’t accept GM Foods!!! Our tourism industry is also at risk as more and more markets are being encouraged from countries outside of Canada and the US!! What then of Jamaica land we love!!!
Jamaica needs to join the following countries where GM foods are banned and where mandatory labeling of GM foods and ingredients are in place:
Italy, Austria, France, Germany, Luxemberg, Portugal, Spain, Greece, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Phllipines, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Brazil, Paraguay.
Join us on Saturday the 24th May at Half Way Tree Road, Kingston in support of this inaugural event which sets to change our nations diet and our country agricultural and tourism capability.  Without your support we will not make history in the ban of Genetically Modified foods from our diet. 
E-mail us at: foodhygienebureau(at)fsjamaica.org  
Enforcement main driver for change
Stuart Spear08/05/2013
New research published this week reveals that while the Welsh food hygiene-rating scheme is driving up standards the main incentive for business improvement is still local authority enforcement. 

The findings published this week at the annual CIEH Wales’s public health conference comes as compulsory food hygiene scoring is to be introduced across Wales in November.
The study, carried out by Ceredigion County Council and Cardiff Metropolitan University, involved interviewing 255 food businesses across Wales to find out what motivated them to improve their hygiene standards. 

The study found that 40 per cent of the businesses surveyed had improved their food hygiene rating score while only 13 per cent had seen a drop in standards.
The number of premises with a 0 rating had dropped from 30.9 per cent to 14.1 per cent while the number of premises getting a 4 or 5 rating increased from 8.1 per cent to 26.4 per cent. 

But according to the food businesses the biggest reason for improved food hygiene remains enforcement action. Forty three per cent of businesses claim enforcement as the main driver compared to 35 per cent who said it was down to the food business operator. 
Find out more and visit Source of Article: Environmental Health News,



Poundstretcher safety ‘appalling’
Tom Wall 08/05/2013
A magistrate has criticised cut price chain Poundstretcher’s safety record after it was fined £60,000 for putting customers and staff at risk in Newbury. 
The retailer was prosecuted last month in Reading Magistrates Court after it ignored repeated warnings including an improvement notice issued almost two years ago that its store was dangerously over stocked. 
EHOs from West Berkshire Council found emergency exits were blocked and stock was piled so high it was hazardous for customers and staff during inspections carried out between July 2011 and March 2012. 
Poundstretcher pleaded guilty to four health and safety offences. It was fined £60,000 and was ordered to pay £5,965 in prosecution costs to the council. 
The magistrate said Poundstretcher had shown a ‘blatant disregard for the law’ and ‘the safety of its staff and customers’. 
‘It has an appalling record showing a number of similar offences,’ said the magistrate. 
The magistrate noted that: ‘We are of the opinion that the issues being experienced by the Newbury branch and the fact that they were dealt with in the short term demonstrates an awareness of the issues at the highest level in the company, and that there was a reckless disregard for health and safety on the shop floor.’ 
Find out more and visit Source of Article: Environmental Health News


Could this happen Here?
Horsemeat scandal blamed on European meat regulation changes Food expert says redefinition of meat meant manufacturers had to look overseas for cheap replacements
Unprocessed, natural meat at Smithfields meat market in London. Photograph by David Levene Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
The UK's horsemeat scandal was in "large part" the result of a switch from UK to foreign meat suppliers in 2012 caused by an abrupt change in European regulation that the government failed to contest, according to the expert who led the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) surveillance programme for a decade.
6th International Food Safety Conference Jamaica


We will bring together an arena of food safety experts to share on topical and challenging issues, networking opportunities and to provide a forum of educational opportunities through workshops, presentations and a virtual exhibition

The Food Hygiene Bureau invites your company to partner with us to host the Caribbean's next major Food Safety Conference, taking place on the 18th and 19th October 2012 under the theme ' Food Safety Challenges in a Changing World. Economy. Culture and technologies'.

Click here to find out more.



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