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Editors' Forum | Candy crush - State agencies join forces to move suggestively packaged sweet from school gates

Published:Sunday | December 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMCarlene Davis
State agencies are trying to crack down on this liquid candy featuring a female minion wearing a skirt and an exposed brassiere, with the rainbow-coloured image resembling a male genitalia.

The National Compliance and Regulatory Authority (NCRA) has joined forces with other state agencies in an effort to rid school gates of the CiCi liquid fruit candy that appears to have a rainbow-coloured male genitalia on the package.

"We have gone out and we have looked. We understand that it was being sold at the gates of the schools, so what we did was we got the Public Health Department involved. Because they have jurisdiction we asked them to go out and take over," director of the NCRA, Orine Henry, told a recent Gleaner Editors' Forum.

In October, The Sunday Gleaner's report on the suggestively packaged candy sparked outrage among parents, church groups and children advocates, who questioned how they made their way into the country.

But Henry told Gleaner editors and reporters that there was no mystery in the importation of the candies.

"What happens is that we have different scenarios at the ports of entry. We have some containers that are not inspected, so it's not a 100 per cent inspection that happens at the ports of entry. We have some importers who get a privilege. They qualify for that privilege because the Customs Department does an audit of them and everything is found to be above board.

"Those containers are not inspected on the ports at all, and even the containers that are inspected on the ports, we cannot do a 100 per cent inspection. No country in the world does a 100 per cent inspection," added Henry.

She said when the NCRA received word of the candy it ensured that testing was done on the product, and other than a few minor labelling infractions, the product was up to standard.

Henry said despite that the NCRA noted the concerns of the public about the graphics and got other stakeholders involved.

"Our inspectors in Montego Bay, St James, intercepted that particular shipment of those candies and we have conducted label assessment on the product. We are also in dialogue with the Ministry of Education about it," said Henry.

The NCRA is the former regulatory division of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica.

carlene.davis@gleanerjm.com