Jamaicans must ensure they consume safe food
Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson is urging Jamaicans to play a part in preventing food contamination, which can lead to illness and even death.
Speaking against the background of last week's observance of World Health Day 2015, under the theme 'Food Safety - From Farm to Plate, Make Food Safe', the minister indicated that, "the Ministry of Health has partnered with the Pan American Health Organization to highlight the importance of food safety and to remind all Jamaicans of simple steps that should be taken at all times to ensure the safety of food".
These include keeping surfaces and equipment clean, washing hands thoroughly, separating raw and cooked food, cooking food thoroughly, keeping food at safe temperatures and using safe water and raw materials.
He said World Health Day this year was dedicated to food safety because of the potential for food-borne illnesses to affect the population as the global trade in food expands. Threats posed by unsafe foods are real and can significantly affect health and even lead to death. There is, therefore, need for coordinated, cross-border action across the entire food supply chain.
"The issue of food safety has to consider the regulation of food production, storage, processing, marketing, shipping/transporting, wholesaling, retailing, spanning farm to table. Unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition, particularly affecting infants, young children, the elderly and the infirmed," he said.
The National Agricultural Health and Food Safety Coordinating Committee, chaired by the Ministry of Health, continues to act as a practical coordinating platform for food safety and has been effective.
In 2013, Cabinet approved the National Food Safety Policy and Implementation Plan, which seeks to establish an improved coordination of Jamaica's Food Safety Regulatory Programme.
"As we all play a role in food safety, we are reminded that eating safe, nutritious, healthy food provides everyone with the energy they need to enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle," Dr Ferguson explained.