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SVGBS holds one-day forum on food and safety

SVGBS holds one-day forum on food and safety


Over thirty stakeholders in the food industry were on Monday, November 7, engaged in a one-day forum aimed at improving food safety practices among food vendors, caterers and processors in St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Bureau of Standards (SVGBS), in collaboration with the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute, (CARIRI) is implementing the sub-regional project which also involves training of technical officers at the SVGBS and other support agencies on the principles of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), Food Preparation and Hygiene.

During the forum, which was held at the Fisheries conference room, Kingstown, stakeholders were educated about the importance of food safety, personal hygiene, cleaning and sanitation, food preparation, holding and distribution. There was also a video presentation on food-safe vending booths.

Ezra Ledger, Director for the SVGBS, said that Monday’s venture was one of great importance to the Bureau “because food is everybody’s business.”

“Our quality of life greatly depends on what we consume, and this consumption should be based on quality. We are not just eating for eating sake, but importantly, if we eat quality food, this will promote healthier living, and as such, we can become more productive,” Ledger said.

The Bureau’s Director further noted that the SVGBS has a very generic mandate, which is to provide standards for all areas of products and services.

“As regulators, producers and persons involved in the food sector, we want to harmonize and to bring greater knowledge in the application of Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) as we normally call them, as to ensure whatever we produce is wholesome and fit for use.”

The stakeholders were then provided with additional information on the forum and how it was initiated, by Coordinator for the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI), Petrina Mohammed, a resident of Trinidad and Tobago.

According to Mohammed, the forum is also part of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) funded food safety project that was launch here on March 21, 2011.

It was further disclosed that the project came about due to a successful initiative that was undertaken by the IADB and CARIRI-CFSC (Caribbean Food Safety Centre) in Tobago during the period 2008-2010, where similar activities were executed to promote food safety.

“The IADB, seeing it fit to transfer the methodology and knowledge from the Tobago experience, decided to embark on another project, with the islands of Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica being the chosen countries to begin the knowledge transfer,” she explained.

Mohammed then revealed to the gathering that there are 4 components to the project. These components include the adoption of knowledge materials, training of Bureaus and other key support agencies in the development of assessment/selection tools, training of trainers in implementation of food safety practices and execution of pilot food safety intervention programme methodology.

“It is a pleasure to inform you that 3 of these components have been successfully completed, with the exception of a Phase 2 Microbiology practical training sub-component. It is anticipated, though, that this training will soon be on stream,” Mohammed said.

Following Monday’s proceedings, the pilot project will commence, and a total of twelve food handlers from SVG will be audited against the requirement of good manufacturing practices. Upon completion of this audit, at a later date, an implementation phase will be undertaken where the 12 auditees will receive further training from the Bureau as well as on-site consultations to aid in rectifying non-conforming issues that were found during the baseline assessment audit.(AA)