JIS News

This year, the concept of a ‘one stop shop’ is to be introduced, among food regulatory bodies in order to streamline and coordinate food safety activities, State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Michael Stern, has informed.
Making his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday (June 17), he outlined that this all-inclusive concept is aimed at providing common office space for three state regulators of imported food, including: the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, through the Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division (FSPID).
Mr. Stern noted that these agencies will be linked electronically with the Jamaica Customs Department. “Our objective is to increase efficiency and effectiveness in the use of resources, especially human resources, at the ports of entry while providing importers with easier access to regulators, thereby minimizing bureaucracy and delays in the processing of imported foods. It is hoped that the one stop shop will become operational during calendar year 2008,” Minister Stern said.
Meanwhile, he said that in addressing food safety standards, attention must be placed for example, on the hypoglycin ‘A’ level established for canned ackees, which are exported to the United States and other markets.
“The maximum hypoglycin ‘A’ level of 100 parts per million is a requirement for export of canned ackees to the United States. However, higher Hypoglycin A levels are considered safe and are accepted in other international markets such as Canada,” he added.
“I believe that we should try and make a case for acceptance of higher hypoglycemic ‘A’ levels based on objective scientific research. I would therefore like the University of the West Indies to undertake research in this area,” the Minister said.
Mr. Stern explained that raising the current ceiling on hypoglycin ‘A’ level would mean an increase in exports of ackee and a relaxation of overly rigorous testing and associated costs to agro-processors, a situation, he said, that may render them uncompetitive.

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