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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries says meat products available on the local market are safe.
  • Veterinary drugs are used to treat diseases in livestock, maintain health and improve meat quality. Traces of these drugs can end up in the food chain.
  • Dr. Marsden is calling for the support of farmers, butchers and other stakeholders in ensuring that the quality of food in Jamaica is of the best standard and quality.

The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries says meat products available on the local market are safe.

Senior Veterinary Officer and Technical Manager in the Veterinary Services Division, Dr. Winthorph Marsden, gave the assurance at a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’, where he addressed the issue of drug residue and environmental contaminants in food.

He noted that local farmers tend to employ holistic methods in treating animals rather than using veterinary drugs. “They will often turn to different bushes and roots in order to make things for animals to treat them but not the actual drugs,” he noted.

Veterinary drugs are used to treat diseases in livestock, maintain health and improve meat quality. Traces of these drugs can end up in the food chain.

“This is a very high concern for us,” Dr. Marsden said, noting that the Veterinary Services Division tests meats produced locally and internationally to ensure they are not a risk to public health.

“Our inspectors are out there every day working on the ports, at the processing facilities, the abattoirs and the production sites collecting samples for testing,” he informed.

“We go out and test because… persons can take products to us that have been switched,” he told JIS News.

Dr. Marsden is calling for the support of farmers, butchers and other stakeholders in ensuring that the quality of food in Jamaica is of the best standard and quality.

The Veterinary Services Division is charged with promoting food safety and the facilitation of international trade in animals and animal products through the granting of relevant permits, appropriate inspection and health certification.

 

Among its duties are: the diagnosis of animal diseases; conducting residue analysis for pesticides, toxins, etc; carrying out veterinary inspections and certification; monitoring of food-processing establishments that export products of animal origin; and certification of live animals and products of animal origin for export.