JIS News

The Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division (FSPID) of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce has disposed of contaminated and expired food items valued at over $1million.
The FSPID’s Senior Food Storage Scientist, Tamara Morrison, informed JIS News in an interview on Thursday (October 7) that the items were seized at a storage facility in the Montego Freeport, St. James, owned and operated by one of the island’s largest food manufacturing and distribution companies.
The goods, which were intended for distribution to the local retail trade, were discovered during a routine inspection by the Division’s Senior Food Storage Inspector in Montego Bay, Owen Scarlett.
Ms. Morrison said the items which were both imported and locally manufactured, included: Twelve boxes of mayonnaise, 150 cases of sorrel-flavoured fruit water, 11 cases of cup porridge mix and 165 kilogrammes of brown sugar packaged in three 55 kilogramme bags, which were all produced locally; as well as 535 boxes of imported confectionary/snacks, 135 kilogrammes of white bulk rice packaged in three 45 kg bags and 450 kilogrammes of baking flour, packaged in ten 45 kg bags, imported from the United States.
She explained that during the inspection of the facility and the goods on September 21, the inspector noticed that a number of the items bore evidence of rodent droppings, urine stains and gnaw marks and had surpassed their expiry dates.
Additionally, she said a number of the bottles were found to be swollen, suggesting that these products were no longer fit for consumption. She added that investigations conducted concluded that the storage facility was the point of contamination.
It is believed that some of the products surpassing their expiry dates were ordered by clients or produced but not sold or distributed in the quantities anticipated or expected and were returned.
Ms. Morrison said that in keeping with the Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation (FSPI) Act (1958) and Regulations (1973), the goods were detained and condemned and arrangements made for subsequent disposal.
She said that the investigations also concluded that the company was deemed to have acted responsibly in its handling of the matter.
“Actually, they contacted Mr. Scarlett, in accordance with Section 7 of the FSPI Act, to notify him of the infested and expired goods. Upon further inspection of the warehouse, Mr. Scarlett identified other goods to be disposed of and also located the point of entry of the rodents that contaminated some of the goods,” she informed.
The investigations also revealed that the rodents gained access to the building via a parallel air conditioning duct, which was not properly sealed. She advised that the entity was served with a 14-day notice to repair the breach, which has already been done. The seized goods were subsequently disposed of on September 24.
Ms. Morrison said that the FSPID had previously detained and disposed of a consignment of baking flour, which the company was preparing for distribution to the local retail trade, after it was found to be contaminated. That find was treated similarly, she stated.