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Abstract

A large amount of data on the microbial threats to the safety of food products in trade originating from the English-speaking Caribbean countries come from public health sources. Many of the countries depend on diagnostics information from Public Health Laboratories or Analytical Laboratories, and the Chemistry Food and Drug Laboratories (in at least two CARICOM states). While the Ministry of Agriculture is the principal Ministry that directs the affairs of the export of food and agricultural products, the technical input regarding inspection and certification of such products for export often lies with inspectors from the Ministry of Health. Should this really matter? How efficient is the inspection process? How effective is the national laboratory in the support of regional and international trade. There is paucity in the information regarding food products to be exported from several CARICOM countries, but there is an equal scarcity of information on imported products from third countries and international trading partners. Some projections are made on addressing the lack of data in CARICOM countries. Caribbean countries are challenged to deal with microbial threats. But a genuine effort to address the deficiencies could prove valuable to the member countries, working collectively as a single domestic space with many common linkages. Through networks and partnerships, much could be achieved. Networks and partnerships could result in enhanced surveillance and diseases detection, and lead to great achievements in food safety and trade.

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