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Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has assured consumers that the chicken leg quarters, which are being imported into the island, are of the highest quality and meet rigorous safety standards.
He said that the products, which are being imported from the United States of America, are certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and local health authorities. “This product is certified not only by our local agencies but also from the country of origin and the evidence is there to support that and therefore, the consumers have nothing to worry about as it relates to that,” Dr. Tufton stated at a press conference held yesterday (Dec. 15) at his Hope Gardens office in Kingston.
According to the Agriculture Minister, the strongest safety measures and procedures are always undertaken to ensure that the highest quality meats are imported into the island.
He pointed out that the Ministry has the responsibility for safeguarding public health and to ensure that all products imported for human consumption, meet the required health standards.
“Prior to the issue of an [import] permit, the applicant must demonstrate that adequate cold storage facilities are available to meet the minimum required standards. These facilities are then inspected by the competent authority for compliance,” the Minister outlined.
He informed that all imported meats and meat products will have the relevant veterinary health certification attesting to wholesomeness, adding that “copies of these certificates may be viewed at the Veterinary Services Division.”
The Government’s move to grant permits for the importation of 625,000 kilograms or 25 containers of chicken leg quarters is intended to stave off any increase in price for chicken meat, while protecting local producers, as at this time each year, the market experiences a peak in demand for chicken meat.
The Agriculture Minister cited statistics, which shows that the amount of chicken meat being imported into the island this year, represents the lowest volume over the last 10 years.