March 2nd, 2009
Minister Wants Food Safety Task Force
Source of Article:† http://www.jonesbahamas.com/news/45/ARTICLE/19339/2009-03-02.html
By IANTHIA SMITH
country that imports more than half of the food it eats, The
That is why Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Larry Cartwright said his department is on a mission to team up with other government agencies to establish a multi-ministry task force to respond quickly to any alerts on contaminated food items.
Mr. Cartwright said The Bahamas needs to ensure that the items it imports are safe.
"As a country which imports some 80 per cent or more of its food, The Bahamas is particularly vulnerable to shocks such as those which visited the agricultural sector over the past two years," he said. "So, our food security policy must now also address the import of food that is contaminated."
Back in January, more than 1,900 peanut
products had to be recalled following a salmonella outbreak in the
In June 2008, there were more than 1,200
illnesses reported in the
Many of these items were also removed from local food store shelves after word spread of the dangers they posed.
Cartwright said because The Bahamas relies
heavily on the
"Currently, The Bahamas spends around $500 million on food imports," he said. "As we have seen over the past years, the recall of food items and their consequential removal from the shelves of food stores have been occurring with increasing regularity."
Many of these same foods, the study said, are even shipped to buyers, like The Bahamas.
The agriculture minister said this is just another reason why food security is so important to The Bahamas. He said not only would the country be in a better position to fend off the food crisis, but Bahamians could also avoid being susceptible to the many illnesses that could occur as a result of tainted foods being imported.
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