Dermon Spence(right) chief technical director in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, shares a light moment with (l-r) Diego Varela of the Chilean Agency for Food Safety (ACHIPIA); His Excellency, Roberto Alvarez of the Embassy of Chile in Jamaica and Dr Michel Leporati, President of the Codex Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean at the closing event for the project entitled ‘Strengthening the Functioning of the National Codex Structure in Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia and Suriname’, held Wednesday, September 6 at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston.
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries is once again stressing the importance of food safety and an adherence to globally recognised standards.
The reminder was issued by Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Mr Dermon Spence, as he addressed regional stakeholders in the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the international body that sets food standards and guidelines, in Kingston on Wednesday, September 6.
“The adherence to international food safety and food standards is absolutely essential and must be embraced by regulators, producers and consumers,” Spence said.
The chief technical director said further that the promotion and enforcement of standards should be seen as part of a commitment to ensure the provision of safe food to the local population while enhancing our ability to trade in accordance with the agreed standards.
“Codex Alimentarius,” he added, “provides us all with a framework through which to pursue world standards and the stamp of quality assurance to consumers that they are buying safe food, fit for consumption and meeting international traceability and food safety standards.”
Mr Spence was representing Minister Karl Samuda at the meeting which marked the closing activity for a project for ‘Strengthening the Functioning of the National Codex Structure in Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia and Suriname’.
The two-year project was funded by the Government of the Republic of Chile who collaborated with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the National Codex Committees to produce a National Codex Procedural Manual, a Codex Strategic Plan and a Visibility Strategy for the countries involved.
Jamaica became a member of the Codex Alimentarius Commission in 1971 and established a National Codex Committee in 2004. The responsibility for Codex activities in the country is assigned to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries and the Ministry of Health, with the Bureau of Standards being the Codex Contact Point.
The work of Codex is administered through geographic regions, with Jamaica being a member of the Codex Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, currently chaired by Chile.
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The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) has been charged with the responsibility of driving the integration of the production of primary agricultural produce along all the stages of the supply chain through to value added and facilitating full commercialization of outputs of the agriculture, manufacturing, and service sectors.
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