Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Sancia Bennett Templer, addresses the World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week symposium, held on Monday (November 20) at the ROK Hotel in Kingston.
The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce has advanced efforts to strengthen monitoring and surveillance programmes and capacity-building by its regulatory agencies.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Sancia Bennett Templer, who made the disclosure, said these agencies include the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division (FSPID), National Compliance and Regulatory Authority (NCRA), along with government-owned laboratories.
“[This is to] ensure the safety and wholesomeness of local foods, including animal feed, intended for both commerce locally and internationally,” she said.
Mrs. Bennett Templer also noted that the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) plays an important role in terms of accreditation of labs in Jamaica, underscoring the importance of that in the country’s export efforts.
She was addressing the World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week symposium, held on Monday (November 20) at the ROK Hotel in Kingston.
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs where bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.
AMR can be a problem for agriculture and food production, as infections in animals can be a risk to humans through contact and in the food chain.
Additionally, misusing and overusing different antibacterial agents in healthcare as well as the agricultural industry are considered the major reasons behind the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.
Mrs. Bennett Templer said the Ministry recognises that trade could be negatively impacted if policymakers do not invest in more international surveillance of food chains to support domestic food security and protect Jamaica’s export industries.
“The Ministry supports the global observance and is committed to deepening training, monitoring and surveillance programmes to slow the pace of resistance organisms and to ensure that food is safe and healthy for export and domestic consumption. The Ministry also supports good hygiene practices in food production to eliminate the spread of pathogens along food chains,” she said.
The Permanent Secretary pointed out that the Ministry endorses any action that supports multisectoral corporations to ultimately reduce the threat of AMR, and public education across the country to raise awareness of a growing issue that has the potential to negatively affect and impact Jamaica’s economy.
“We encourage each individual, every company, every sector to employ safe food practices from production to consumption. Help us to protect our domestic food chains and export industries,” Mrs. Bennett Templer said.
The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce has partnered with the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization (WHO/PAHO) to host the symposium in observance of World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week 2023, being held under the global theme, ‘Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together’.
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The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce is described as Jamaica's "Business Ministry." It's mandate is to lead the development of policies that will create growth and jobs, while achieving social inclusion and consumer protection. The Ministry, working its stakeholders is primarily responsible for business policy development, monitoring and evaluation, while giving direction and oversight to a cluster of implementing departments and agencies.
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