Meat safety training for Caribbean countries — FAO

Monday, October 16, 2017

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CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) — A two-day regional training workshop covering hygiene provisions for raw meat, meat preparations and manufactured meat from the time of live animal production up to the point of retail sale, gets underway here on Tuesday.

The workshop, to be attended by public health and veterinary officials from 15 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries will place emphasis on the Codex principles of meat hygiene which have been developed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC).

The workshop, titled the Joint FAO/Switzerland Caribbean Food Safety Capacity Building Workshop on Foods of Animal Origin, is organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Switzerland in close collaboration with the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the St Lucia government.

“Food safety begins with robust food laws and regulations, which must be implemented by all stakeholders in the food chain and enforced rigorously and effectively by the control authorities. Codex standards can be applied at the international, regional or national levels in order to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade,” said Awilo Ochieng Pernet, former CAC chairperson.

The main objective of the workshop is to increase awareness for food safety particularly in the meat sector using Codex food safety guidelines. Participants will also have an open discussion on issues related to the impact using antimicrobial drugs on food safety, as well as resistance to antimicrobials within the sector.

“FAO's work on antimicrobial resistance in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region started in 2017. We aim to address these issues and their relationship to food safety to assist countries to develop their national action plans.

“As part of the Tripartite Alliance formed by the FAO, WHO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE); FAO embraces the One Health approach to reduce/minimise/contain Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) under the four pillars of the FAO Action Plan on AMR for the food and agriculture sector: awareness, evidence, governance, and best practices,” said Marisa Caipo, FAO Food Safety and Quality Officer and Regional Focal Point on AMR.

“Many Caribbean countries are currently in the process of modernising their food safety regimes to bring them in line with international standards.

“We hope that with the training received, the workshop participants will be able to contribute to the modernization of the meat hygiene system in their own countries when they return home,” said Cedric Lazarus, FAO Livestock Development Officer for the Caribbean.

The Codex Alimentarius, or Food Code, is a collection of standards, guidelines and codes of practice developed, maintained and promoted by the CAC, which was established in 1963 by FAO and WHO. Its mandate is to develop international food safety and quality standards to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade.

The CAC currently has 188 members, 187 member countries and one member organisation, the European Union (EU). The FAO/WHO Regional Coordinating Committee for the Latin American and the Caribbean Region (CCLAC) has 33 members and it is currently chaired by Chile.

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