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Rambharat: Food safety policy coming
After extensive consultations, a food safety policy is being finalised for submission to Cabinet, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat said yesterday.
Responding to calls from President of the Poultry Association Robin Phillips to implement the Poultry and Poultry Products Caricom Standard which was passed in 2012, to prevent substandard meat from entering the local market, the minister said meetings had been held with all stakeholders in the industry.
“We are familiar with the proposals of the local poultry sector. Most of what has to be done requires legislative changes. Those changes are in various stages of development,” he said.
“On the policy side, a food safety policy is being finalised for submission to Cabinet after extensive consultation.”
Phillips had said that T&T produced 800,000 birds a week for domestic consumption and imported an estimated 200,000 birds. He called for introduction of proper importation standards because of the numerous discrepancies in T&T Customs export records from the United States.
Last month, the USA Poultry and Egg Council ramped up its campaign to send millions of tons of chicken, turkey and duck, and billions of eggs into the Caricom market. It was met with fierce resistance from the Caribbean Poultry Association which expressed concern that US poultry and poultry products did not conform with specifications developed by CROSQ, the Caricom Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality.
Regional producers said they were in discussion with the US Department of Agriculture about adoption of CROSQ standards, including labeling of poultry and poultry products with the date of slaughter so that substandard products did not enter the region.
Last week, Rambharat warned that more than 15,000 jobs would be lost if the local poultry industry was decimated by the foreign imports. According to Phillips, more than 27,000 people were employed in poultry farms and pluck shops.
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