JIS News

President of the Jamaica Association of Public Health Inspectors (JAPHI), Karen Brown, is encouraging backyard poultry farmers to obtain a butcher’s licence.

Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank at the agency’s regional office in Montego Bay, St. James, recently, Ms Brown said that while licensing is not yet mandatory for this group, it is important in order to maintain public health and safety standards.

“We are aware of backyard farming and chicken rearing and that persons may sell to other persons. Those who engage in those practices should really obtain a butcher’s licence and the requirements [for operation] would be outlined,” she noted.

Ms. Brown said that the Government is moving to strengthen the legislative framework governing poultry farming through the promulgation of poultry hygiene regulations, which is now in the draft stage.

“When that is implemented, it (licensing of backyard poultry farmers) will definitely become mandatory and will require persons to practise certain basic measures in order to continue to provide poultry for sale for human consumption,” she said.

The JAPHI President noted that, in the meantime, public health inspectors will continue to remain vigilant and have been canvassing communities to assist backyard poultry farmers to adhere to food-safety standards, through public education.

“What is happening now is that the public health inspectors are checking the communities to assist persons to come up to compliance, she said.

“I know of surveys done, particularly in St. Mary, which has the largest number of backyard poultry farmers, who are licensed, and that was done through collaboration with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA). [We had] meetings with these community members and they applied for their licence. They were given basic guidelines and they are operating in compliance with the requirements,” Ms. Brown shared.

She informed that persons can apply for a butcher’s licence at their local municipal corporation.

The Think Tank was held to highlight JAPHI’s 75th Annual Educational Conference from October 24 to 30.

The event, which is part of Public Health Inspector (PHI) Week, is being held under the theme ‘Strengthening environmental health: lessons learnt from the pandemic’.

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