MINISTER of Agriculture and Fisheries Roger Clarke has lauded the work of the Food Safety Modernisation Act Committee (FSMA), noting that the body has had a number of significant accomplishments since its establishment in October last year.
The committee was implemented in an effort to develop a strategy aimed at improving the capacity and capability of farmers and fresh produce exporters in becoming compliant with the United States FSMA and to ensure continued access of Jamaica’s foods to US markets.
Speaking at a press briefing at the Ministry’s Hope Gardens offices yesterday, Clarke noted that through the hard work of committee members, several Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) officers in 13 parishes have been trained in the FSMA guidelines, while plant quarantine/produce branch inspectors have been instructed in post harvest operations and procedures.
The committee has also conducted training for farmers’ groups in Walkerswood, St Ann, St Elizabeth, Westmoreland and St Mary, and for members of the greenhouse association.
Additionally, through the work of the committee, three exporters received training in post-harvest fungicide treatment, personal hygiene and record keeping prior to Food Drug Administration (FDA) inspection in February of this year.
Clarke said that none of the exporters were issued with a FDA-483 (Inspectional Observation Form), used to document and communicate concerns discovered during these inspections, “indicating that they had passed the inspection.”