JIS News

The Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division (FSPID) of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce destroyed some 118 bags of bakery flour, weighing just over 3.5 metric tonnes, which were infested with the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum), this week.
The red flour beetle, which is common in Jamaica, primarily infests processed food items such as rice, flour, cornmeal and cereals.
Senior Food Storage Scientist at the FSPID, Tamara Morrison, told JIS News that the flour, valued at $424,500, had been procured by a major local food distribution company. It was found to be infested on September 29, the day it was delivered to the entity’s warehouse in Montego Bay St. James from Kingston. He added that that infestation, most likely, occurred at the facilities of the supplier.
Investigations by the FSPID revealed that the flour was intended for bakeries in western Jamaica. It was to have been stored at the warehouse, from where it should have been distributed.
According to Ms. Morrison, the discovery was made on the day of the delivery by the warehouse manager whom, she said, noticed insects on, and tiny holes in, some of the bags.
The manager subsequently contacted the FSPID’s Senior Food Storage Inspector in charge of the agency’s western regional office, Montego Bay, Owen Scarlett, who detained the consignment for inspection.
Ms. Morrison said that the exercise confirmed the finding to be the red flour beetle, resulting in the consignment of flour being condemned. The Medical Officer of Health for St. James was notified of the scheduled destruction, and the flour was subsequently disposed of. The FSPID also administered spraying and treatment of the facility, as a precaution.
The 118 bags of contaminated flour is the first to be discovered and destroyed by the FSPID this year. The find is also the second quantity of contaminated foodstuff which has been destroyed within a month, following the disposal of 25 metric tonnes of rice, imported from Vietnam, in September.
Noting that a wide range of other food items are also stored at the warehouse, Ms. Morrison said that the manager’s vigilance and due diligence, at the time of the discovery, prevented cross contamination of the other products in the facility, which were inspected and found to be satisfactory for consumption.
The facility is certified under the FSPID’s National Food Safety Certification Programme, and is visited and inspected regularly by the Senior Food Storage Inspector in Montego Bay.

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