Food Safety Policy Will Enhance the Health of Jamaicans – Tufton
Minister of Agriculture, Christopher Tufton, has lauded the development of the National Food Safety Policy, which he said, will enhance the health and safety of all Jamaicans.
Addressing the launch of National Food Safety Week today (June 18) at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston, Mr. Tufton said that the policy will also ensure the well-being of visitors to the island and those persons around the world, who consume food originating in Jamaica.
“We shall implement programmes that promote high standards of food hygiene and maintain systems of surveillance and control, to ensure compliance with those standards.”
The Minister informed that among the objectives of the policy are to have a system in place that will enable traceability of food from producer to consumer and to ensure that standards are maintained from the primary stages through to consumption.
“This will also help in other areas, firstly, the area of praedial larceny, which is an area we are trying to confront as a country,” he said, noting that in order to tackle praedial larceny in Jamaica, a system of traceability is needed. Other objectives of the policy are to: promulgate a modern food safety umbrella legislation; institute an appropriate institutional arrangement for accreditation; establish systems that would ensure food produced by farmers is safe for consumption; establish systems that ensure food sold to the public by vendors, restaurants and processors is safe; and to establish a co-ordinating mechanism for food safety activities.
In her remarks, Chairman of the National Agricultural Health and Food Safety Co-ordinating Committee, Linnette Peters said that the objective of the food safety programme is to sensitize, educate and foster safety practices at every stage of the food process.
Food safety is the responsibility of several government bodies, which must, at various stages of food production, food preparation, packaging, storage and delivery, ensure that the consumer receives safe food.
Food Safety Week is being observed from June 15 to 20 under the theme: ‘Food Safety is in Your Hands,’ and is being organized by the National Agricultural Health and Food Safety Coordinating Committee (NAHFSCC) through sponsorship from the Agricultural Support Services Project (ASSP).
Activities will culminate with a fair and exposition at Emancipation Park on Friday, June 20.