$22.35 Million Earmarked for Project to Improve Food Quality and Safety

The Bureau of Standards has been allocated $22.35 million to fund the Jamaica Implementation of Quality, Environmental and Food Safety Systems project.
This is contained in the 2007/2008 Estimates of Expenditure, which was tabled in the House of Representatives yesterday (March 29) by Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Omar Davies.
Objectives of the project, which is being conducted in four phases, are: to improve the level of efficiency and competitiveness of Jamaican small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs); raise awareness among SMEs regarding the importance of management systems as a tool for continuous improvement and competitiveness; develop a local supply of qualified consultants trained in International Standardization Organization (ISO) and Hazard Critical Control Point (HACCP) management systems; facilitate the implementation of ISO or HACCP in 100 firms; and institutional strengthening and promotion to enhance the ability of the Bureau to attain international recognition as an ISO and HACCP certification body.
As at December 2006, more than 180 persons have been trained in the ISO 900/1400 requirements; more than 15 stakeholder meetings and awareness sessions have been conducted with some 600 persons in attendance; and a website for the project has been completed and is providing news and feedback to stakeholders.
Anticipated physical targets for the new financial year include: the disbursement of match grant funds to at least 60 companies; completion of development procedures; execution of training plan and completion of internal audit training; continue to monitor website and update information where required and to continue development work to establish the Bureau of Standards as an accredited body for HACCP/ISO systems.
The Jamaica Implementation of Quality, Environmental and Food Safety Systems project is scheduled to be completed in July 2007 and it is being funded by the Inter American Development Bank.

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