New initiatives to enhance food safety in Caribbean

Thursday, August 01, 2019

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PARAMARIBO, Suriname (CMC) — Food safety regulators from Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries are calling for the establishment of a Caribbean Task Force on Food Safety as they seek to harmonise standards for food safety within the region.

The Suriname-based Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA), in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Suriname Government, recently organised a three-day meeting under the aegis of the Suriname Agriculture Market Access Project (SAMAP).

SAMAP is a project funded by the European Union and implemented by FAO with the primary objective to strengthen and diversify Suriname's agri-food and food production sector and bolster food safety capacities in the country.

According to a statement issued following the meeting here, delegates outlined a number of recommendations aimed at enhancing the coordination of food safety measures among the member countries.

They recommended the creation of a Caribbean Task Force on Food Safety that will act as a formal coordination mechanism advising and strengthening the work of CAHFSA on food safety.

“The task force will offer advice on prioritisation of food safety challenges and how to promote a common food safety agenda for the region including an approach for harmonisation of food safety standards,” said the statement, noting that the meeting also featured discussions on issues regarding market access in the region.

Participants said they would seek support from the Caricom Ministerial Council of Trade and Economic Development to endorse the creation of the Food Safety Task Force.

The statement said they have also agreed to develop a standing forum for dialogue with industries in the region, with the intent to identify common challenges and offer better guidance on food safety solutions.

“This mechanism will ensure that concertation of the food production sector is a regular practice for the development of major food safety policies and standards in the region, and will enable a more predictable environment for our producers and better protection for our consumers,” said Suriname's minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Rabin Parmessar.

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