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Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says that Jamaica’s tourism food supply remains safe, hygienic and of high quality.
He gave the assurance while addressing the launch of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) Agricultural Suppliers Food Safety Manual at Devon House in St. Andrew on Wednesday (November 22).
The manual sets out procedures that adhere to international food-safety standards and will serve as an information resource for farmers, agri-processors and manufacturers who supply the tourism sector.
It was developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Bureau of Standards Jamaica, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), tourism stakeholders and the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
Minister Bartlett said that the tourism food supply chain is a critical factor in the survival, growth and sustainability of the sector.
He noted that with rising concerns related to food safety and the risk of food-borne illness, the enforcement of control measures at all stages of the supply chain is necessary to ensure that the final delivery of food to guests and hospitality workers in Jamaica is safe.
This, he said, is especially critical as Jamaica recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Agricultural suppliers to the tourism sector must, therefore, ensure that they observe the relevant food-safety guidelines to reduce the risk of food-related viruses, he added.
Minister Bartlett said that the manual is expected to further build the capacity of farmers who supply the Agri-Linkages Exchange (ALEX) platform and the manufacturers who participate in programmes and events like Christmas in July, the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival, and health and wellness conferences and workshops.
He said that the manual should also give the wider public a “greater appreciation” of the importance of the tourism industry and help them recognise that it is “so much more than just having travellers come to our shores to have a great time visiting attractions or relaxing on our beaches”.