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OP-ED: 5th World Food Safety Day

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By: Dr. Renata Clarke AND Dr. Lisa Indar, Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean Director – Surveillance, Disease Prevention and The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Surveillance, Disease Prevention and(FAO) Co ntrol Division 

 

Theme – “Prepare for the Unexpected”

 

7 June 2024

 

Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)

 

The 5th World Food Safety Day is upon us. But June, in the Caribbean this year, is filled with excitement about the World Cup Cricket. Amidst the excitement, is the pride that most West Indians feel in having the region showcased globally. The pride that most Caribbean people feel in having thousands of visitors appreciate and enjoy their piece of paradise.

 

Eating well and enjoying the local cuisine is definitely a big part of most visitors’ holiday experience. Wouldn’t it be disastrous for the reputation of the country if there were frequent reports of foodborne

 

illness? Tourism and hospitality are important for our economies, and it is necessary to appreciate how numerous services and facilities provided largely by government, enable these sectors to thrive. This article focuses on the ongoing investment in food safety that enables the Caribbean to confidently open its “doors” to the millions of tourists that arrive every year.

 

Governments continuously review and update food standards to assure an acceptable level of public health protection in light of new and emerging information. They also regularly update processes and regulations that serve to ensure the food industry comply with expected standards. Several Caribbean countries have undergone rigorous assessments of their systems of food safety and quality control, over the last 2 years, in the spirit of continuous improvement. Food safety is too important to allow complacency. “The assessments are enabling countries to identify opportunities to further strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of food control and to make them future-ready in this time of rapid environmental, technological and social change”, said Renata Clarke the FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for the Caribbean.

 

The food safety risk analysis paradigm provides a solid foundation for national food control systems. It involves scientific/ technical assessment of food safety risks facing consumers; food safety risk management actions to minimize risk to consumers and effective communication to all stakeholders to enable them to take appropriate action to guarantee the safety of food.

 

Many Caribbean countries have demonstrated vigilance and proactivity in identifying potential breaches of food safety in light of the upcoming large mass gathering crowds drawn to the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup events. With the expectation of greatly increased numbers of street food vendors and customers, Ministries of Health (MOH) and food safety authorities have put emphasis on updating food safety training to vendors and food safety awareness for consumers. “The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in collaboration with MOH conducted in-country food safety training for mass gathering setting for almost 900 food vendors from the six Caribbean host countries who will selling food at the cricket stadiums/and its environs; as well as almost 400 persons from the hospitality sector”, said Lisa Indar, Director, Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control Division, CARPHA.

 

Food safety is a shared responsibility: governments, food industry, food handlers and consumers all have critical roles to play. One key role of governments is scanning the horizon to identify and then mitigate potential threats to the safety of food supplies. They have demonstrated to be on top of the situation.

 

Have a great WCC and enjoy the cuisine safely!

 

 

 

 

 

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