JIS News

State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Michael Stern, has lauded the Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division (FSPID) for its role in ensuring the safety and wholesomeness of the nation’s food supply.
“I commend you for the important contribution …(and for) all the years of helping to reduce the risks associated with the storage and consumption of food,” he stated during his address at the FSPID’s 50th anniversary gala banquet held Thursday night (Dec. 4) at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston.
“Without a dedicated, committed and diligent team, not much could have been achieved, whether (in) 50 or five years,” he added, noting that the Division was helping to protect the Jamaica brand as well as the hotel industry.
The State Minister pointed out that in the immediate future, the country will be even more challenged in ensuring the safety and security of food supplies.
“With the development of new technology and the need to meet increasing demands, we must ensure that whatever is imported into this island is safe and sound. I know however that this is a dynamic Division and that through the process of continuous renewal and training and retraining, you will be equal to the task,” he said.
Chief Food Storage Officer at the FSPID, Roy McNeil, in his remarks, said that during its 50 years of existence, the Division has been involved in numerous programmes and initiatives aimed at maintaining or improving the safety and wholesomeness of Jamaica’s food supply.
These, he said, included the annual training of public health inspectors at the West Indies School of Public Health; the training of pest control officers in Guyana involved in the fumigation of rice destined for Jamaica; and the training of personnel from the private sector in pest management and proper food stage techniques.
“In order to face the challenges of a global environment, the Division has qualified its inspectors and scientists by ensuring their certification by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point System (HACCAP) and enrolling them in other training programmes,” he noted.
Mr. McNeil stated further that the FSPID’s laboratories are in the process of receiving international accreditation, as the Division seeks to “become more technically competent, and provide quality laboratory systems, capable of generating acceptable samples, and data that are comparable to laboratories internationally.”
“Accreditation of food testing laboratories at the Division is critical as it not only provides international credibility, but will also increase the acceptance of Jamaican food commodities on the international market,” he added.
The Division, which falls under the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, has been staging a series of activities since March, to commemorate its 50th anniversary.
The celebration, which culminates this month, included an island wide food safety poster and essay competition for secondary schools; and compliance, food safety, and pest control public education seminars.
The FSPID is mandated to ensure the safety and wholesomeness of all foods and feeds destined for commerce, from post harvesting to retailing. This mandate also includes monitoring the safe and effective use of pesticides in and around all food and food-related areas.

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