Contaminated red peas confiscated at port

Friday, April 27, 2012

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THE Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division (FSPID) recently seized 22.73 metric tonnes of imported red kidney beans (red peas) which has been deemed unfit for consumption

The peas, valued at more than $2.6 million which was imported from Belize by a local distributor, were found to contain rodent droppings.

The seizure comes just four weeks after the food inspectorate confiscated and disposed of 1,500 tonnes of paddy rice, valued at approximately $15 million, which was imported from the United States by a local distributor, and found to contain the carcasses of dead frogs and rodents.

Senior food storage scientist at the FSPID, Tamara Morrison, told JIS News that the contaminated beans, which were packed in 750 bags, were discovered following routine inspection of a container at a storage facility at the Kingston Harbour where they were being kept.

Morrison, who is also head of the FSPID's training and information unit, said the consignment was detained and samples collected and submitted to the FSPID's rodent biology and control laboratory for identification. The results revealed that the contaminants were rodent filth.

"The implications of the findings, including the health risks, were discussed with the consignee, and these formed the basis behind our decision to effect disposal of the commodity. A condemnation order for disposal, in accordance with the Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation (FSPI) Act and Regulations, was subsequently issued," Morrison said.

The seizure is the first for 2012 involving red kidney beans and the consignee.

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