JIS News

Jamaica joined the rest of the world in observing World Food Safety Day, today (June 7), under the theme: ‘Safer Food, Better Health’.

The National Codex Committee (NCC) will lead a week of activities from June 6-10, aimed at increasing awareness along the food chain, to reduce the incidence of foodborne diseases in Jamaica and the region.

Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on June 7, NCC Chair, Dr. Lorice Edwards-Brown, said the observance of World Food Safety Day (WFSD) takes a joined-up Government approach.

“It is really the Government of Jamaica at work, through the primary Ministries, to get consumers to embrace the whole idea of food safety, and that food safety is everybody’s business,” Dr. Edwards-Brown said.

She was speaking against the background of the Ministries of Industry, Investment and Commerce; Health and Wellness; and Agriculture and Fisheries collaborating with international partners to facilitate member states, like Jamaica, in the week of celebrations.

These partners include the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.

Dr. Edwards-Brown pointed out that the focus of the observation is on getting consumers to recognise that they too have a responsibility for food safety, as Jamaica promotes safe food from plants, animals, and the environment for healthy human beings.

“The Government takes their role seriously and with this marriage of Government taking on their responsibilities and doing their part, together we’ll ensure that food is safe and wholesome for consumption,” the Chair said.

Dr. Edwards-Brown, who is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Compliance and Regulatory Authority (NCRA), encouraged consumers and industry partners to tune in to some of the activities for the day.

These include a seminar being hosted on the NCRA’s website; the WFSD launch, entitled ‘Unified Defence’, which will be addressed by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. and State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. the Hon. Norman Dunn, and an outside broadcast with the Two Live Crew on RJR 94FM from the compound of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ).

There will be road shows in St. Ann, St. Mary, and Manchester, and the NCC Chairman pointed out that the St. Mary Public Health Department will host an outreach programme in Annotto Bay.

“In Mandeville, the Public Health Department will be walking the streets and talking with food vendors about ensuring that they practise all the correct hygiene requirements, so that consumers are assured that products are wholesome and fit for consumption,” Dr. Edwards-Brown said.

There will also be radio and television interviews throughout the week.

Food safety refers to the condition and practices that preserve the quality of food to prevent contamination and foodborne illnesses.

The policies and actions for food safety must cover the entire chain, from production to consumption.

The NCC is a regional affiliate of the Codex Alimentarius, established by the FAO and WHO to protect consumer health and promote fair practices in food trade.

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