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Director of Veterinary Public Health in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Lynette Peters, says the five-day meeting of the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables (CCPFV) provides an opportunity for local processors to participate in the development of internationally accepted standards.

She was speaking to journalists following Monday’s (Oct. 15) opening session of the five-day meeting at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel in Montego Bay.

Dr. Peters said that Jamaica, which is co-chairing the event with the United States (US), will benefit from the deliberations, in that the country will have a say before decisions are made on standards that are globally binding.

“All the countries will have their input then we come to consensus. The standards that are being developed here are the ones that are used in international trade, so it is very important that we be part of that process so that …measures are not put in place that will negatively impact the trade of our goods overseas,” she stated.

Delegates from about 35 countries are attending the 26th Codex meeting to deliberate on and adopt positions related to the international trade in processed fruits and vegetables.

Jamaica is the first English-speaking Caribbean country to host the meeting, and according toUS Ambassador, Pamela Bridgewater, this honour “underscores the leadership role that Jamaica plays in Codex.”

Ambassador Bridgewater also lauded the work of Codex, noting that its “approach of using global consensus based on the best science available from diverse countries, promotes vigorous discussion that leads to standards meeting the needs of all consumers, wherever they reside”.

This, she said, is especially helpful to countries that may lack technical infrastructure to conduct the risk assessments needed to set national standards.

Ambassador Bridgewater argued that countries that accept and adopt the Codex standards can ply the global food trading market with ease.  

“Products that meet your standards can be exported and imported with confidence by countries around the world. Those imports contribute to the abundance of a safe, nutritious and affordable food supply. This global consensus ensures fair practices in the international trade in food, which help countries comply with their World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations,” she noted further.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, said the forum affords the opportunity for Jamaica and the wider Caribbean region to participate in a process critical to the development of value-added agricultural products.

“The current focus is on capturing niche markets, maintaining our traditional markets and paying special attention to issues relating to the maintenance of internationally accepted standards,” she stated.