JIS News

State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Michael Stern, has commended the Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division of the Ministry, for seeking to promote food safety across the country.
“The intervention is very timely and is of critical importance to all sectors in the food supply chain: importers, exporters, producers, distributors and the consumer,” Mr. Stern said, noting that the prevention of risks associated with the storage and consumption of food and feed could not be over-emphasised.
He was speaking at a seminar on the National Food Compliance Programme recently, held at the Club Riu Hotel in Mammee Bay, St. Ann.
Mr. Stern pointed out that the mission of the Division, is to ensure the safety and wholesomeness of food and related feed products entering commerce, through the application of sound scientific principles in a timely and professional manner.
“In fulfilling its role the Division has intensified its programme of inspection, sampling, disinfestations, laboratory tests, training and research into problems of post harvest and product-storage management, pesticides and biological toxin management,” he informed.
Highlighting the work of the Division, he further informed that it has been working with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), to accelerate the phasing out of the use of harmful chemicals in Jamaica, such as methyl bromide, and preventing the use of environmentally unfriendly substances, mainly ozone depleters, which are used in pest control.
“As a matter of urgency, the Division must now continue the modernisation initiatives and move towards updating the Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division Act, and regulation, to reflect present day realities.
“This includes the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), which is the internationally recognised approach for ensuring food security,” he said, pointing out that the methodology would shift the focus of the management of chemical, physical and biological hazards that affected food products, away from costly end-product inspection and testing, to the more rigorous management of food processing activities.
The State Minister stated that the Division was also focussing on having all its laboratories gaining international accreditation under the Swedish Board for Accreditation and Conformity Assessment (SWEDAC) Project. He said also, that planning is underway, in collaboration with NEPA, for the introduction of an initiative to convert from methyl bromide as the main fumigant to alternative methods and chemicals.
He lauded the Division for its efforts, noting that it must remain the focal point for the transfer of this technology to the wider public.