The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC), through its departments and agencies, continues to ensure that food remains safe for consumers.
Dr Lorice Edwards-Brown, chief executive officer (CEO) of the National Compliance and Regulatory Authority (NCRA), said the ministry takes its responsibility and mandate seriously in ensuring that food is wholesome for the consuming public.
Edwards-Brown noted that the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) has a mandate to make standards for food available to private-sector food manufacturers and consumers, while the NCRA focuses on the processing of food items.
She indicated that persons interested in manufacturing food will have to register the product with the NCRA, which will provide assistance with getting the products to the level where the processing is safe and in compliance with the standards.
In the meantime, the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC), another agency under the MIIC, has a mandate to educate and represent consumers as well as resolve consumer complaints about food safety when they arise.
Latoya Halstead, director of communications at the CAC, in explaining the role of the entity, pointed out that “the recent recall of a particular brand of peanut butter is evidence that the consumer is always placed at the centre of anything that the CAC does”.
Halstead pointed out: “When there is a recall because of food-safety issues, educating consumers of their roles and responsibilities in the process is of great importance.”
For her part, Dolsie Allen, CEO at the CAC, added that when “we find such products, the information is placed in the public domain for consumers to be aware and take the requisite steps to ensure that they protect themselves”.