Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, has reiterated that food safety is a priority for Barbados.
He made this comment during his address at the Fourth Annual Barbados Food Law and Industry Conference, under the theme: “Legally Fit for Consumption” held on Wednesday, August 8, at the Accra Beach Hotel.
Minister Weir indicated that with the changes in the global village, “it is therefore necessary for Barbados, a net food importer, and other importing and exporting countries to examine their national agricultural health and food control systems to ensure compliance with the many international agreements, standards and codes of practice, in order to mitigate these potential risks.”
Mr. Weir further stated that in order to implement such systems necessitates an adequate legislative framework, and to this end, Barbados is “making some changes” and tightening “weaknesses” to ensure that all food produced or imported here meets international food safety standards.
He disclosed that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, in consultation with stakeholders, both in the public and private sector, and with the assistance of development partners, had prepared draft legislation, which will allow a modern risk-based approach to the protection of animal, plant and consumer health.
The Minister said to ensure that our food is legally fit for consumption, the Ministry, along with assistance from international agencies, will seek to address areas such as sanitation; standard operating procedures; manuals for public markets; fish landing sites and vending operations; a traceability manual for selected poultry, fish, and condiment businesses, as well as training officers in the relevant areas.
Minister Weir also called on private sector businesses “to enhance their food control management systems and to fully embrace their primary responsibility for food safety and quality, by ensuring that the food they manufacture, distribute or offer for sale meets the required standard”.