Three draft pieces of legislation on Plant Health, Animal Health and Food Safety and Quality will, this month, be presented to stakeholders of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS) and the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MHW) for discussion.
The consultations, which will be hosted on the Zoom platform and/or Microsoft Teams will get underway from Wednesday, October 6, with the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA) examining all three Bills in a session that runs from 9:00 a.m. until noon.
Stakeholders will be given the opportunity to ask questions of technical persons on hand including Senior Veterinary Officer, Dr. Mark Trotman; Senior Agricultural Officer, and Officer with responsibility for Plant Protection, Michael James; Environmental Health Specialist (Food Hygiene) Cathy-Ann Marshall and Environmental Health Specialist (Port Health), Stephen Harte. Director of the Government Analytical Services, Dr. Beverley Wood will chair the sessions.
The MAFS and MHW will be supported by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, the Department of Commerce and the Barbados National Standards Institution.
The Draft Plant Health Bill will be presented to those persons operating plant nurseries and engaged in the business of live plants, seeds and cut flowers on Friday, October 8.
On Tuesday, October 12, those providing fresh produce, dried foodstuff of plant origin, as well as exporters of fresh produce will make their input, while on Wednesday, October 13, persons working with mined minerals, lumber and potting mix/media will be targetted.
Shipping agents, customs brokers and persons who work at the island’s ports of entry and in the airlines industry will be targetted on Friday, October 15; however, they will be given the opportunity to examine all three draft Bills.
All sessions will run from 9:00 a.m. until noon.
There will also be a meeting with members of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) on Monday, October 11, from 2:00. to 4:00 p.m., where all three areas will be examined.
Meanwhile, animal associations, hatcheries, slaughterhouses, fish aquaculture businesses and manufacturers or importers of animal feed will benefit from a session on the Draft Animal Health Bill on Tuesday, October 12, from 2:00. to 4:00 p.m.
This session will be repeated for major importers as well as small importers of animal products, poultry processing plants, fish processors, slaughterhouses and manufacturers/producers of foods of animal origin, on Wednesday, October 13, again from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Food Establishments such as restaurants, bars, itinerant vendors, minimarts and supermarkets as well as fish processors will be presented with the Food Safety and Quality Bill and the expected changes on Thursday, October 14, from 9:00 a.m. until noon.
Also on Thursday, October 14, The Draft Plant and Animal Health legislations will be presented to the members of the Barbados Agricultural Society from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
The Plant Protection Bill, 2021 will replace the current Plant Protection Act, Cap 268, 2007, while the Animal Health and Veterinary Public Health Bill, 2021 will replace the several Acts which focused on various aspects of animal health and veterinary public health. It represents an overarching piece of legislation for the management of animal health and veterinary public health.
The Food Safety and Quality Bill, 2021, on the other hand, will allow food safety to be managed through a single primary piece of legislation bringing prominence to food safety rather than the current status where food safety is managed through several primary level legislations and a series of secondary pieces of implementing Regulations.
The legislations were drafted under the inter-ministerial National Agricultural Health and Food Control Programme, where the Government of Barbados is seeking to strengthen the agricultural health and food control system.
The Bills will also ensure that Barbados’ legislation in the three areas are in keeping with international requirements. Moreover, the Bills are fashioned under the model legislation drafted for the CARICOM region which seeks to harmonise legislation across the Member States of CARICOM.
The Draft Bills have already been shared with many stakeholders for their review and comments and can now be found on the website: agriculture.gov.bb.