JIS News

Registrar of the Pesticides Control Authority (PCA), Hyacinth Chin-Sue Walters, has said that the creation of a one-stop shop at the Kingston Container Terminal, to facilitate the efficient processing and inspection of agricultural produce, is the first step towards establishing a food safety agency.
Mrs. Chin-Sue Walters, who was addressing a JIS News Think Tank on (Oct. 3), said the creation of the food safety agency, will require collaboration among all the entities involved in inspecting food, as is the case with the one-stop facility. “The one-stop shop, which houses people involved in inspecting at the port, will help the food agency, as [its functions] overlaps in some respects, in that the food that is coming in, when we inspect, it would be for contamination with chemicals and pesticides in particular,” she said.
In terms of how the PCA will directly assist the agency, Mrs. Chin-Sue Walters said that this could be in a coordinating or integrating capacity. “We are not sure, but from our experience, it is best to start in a coordinating role. Eventually, it might become integrated, but in this changing environment, we have to be prepared for whatever it takes to be able to continue trading and to have safe food in Jamaica,” she posited.
In the meantime, she said that while the relevant entities have yet to move into the one-stop shop located at Berth 11, New Port West, all parties are working closely together. These include the Public Health Department, Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Bureau of Standards, and the PCA.
“The building is there and the equipment is there however, there are some logistical issues that need to be worked out. While we might not be inside the building right now, we are all functioning,” she told JIS News, adding that the move will happen soon.
The PCA Registrar said the organization made it a duty to be a part of the initiative as it saw the importance of inspecting food for pesticide residue.
“We have a national Memorandum of Understanding that was signed off by four ministers – Commerce, Health, Agriculture and Development, so we are clear on our role, which deals with maximum residue levels on foods,” she informed.

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