In 1998, the need for improvements in the food safety system of countries of the Caribbean was recognized in a meeting of CARICOM Ministers of Agriculture in Jamaica. A properly functioning food safety system should ensure that all food consumed in a country, whether produced locally or imported and also food exported from that country, conformed to acceptable standards that would ensure the health and safety of the consumers. In Antigua and Barbuda in 2000, was set up an ad hoc National Food Safety Committee with the goal of ensuring that all food and water consumed in Antigua and Barbuda, whether imported, produced locally or for export, conform to acceptable standards to ensure the health and safety of the consumer. Some of the activities undertaken by this committee were: training of local food handlers & processors, farmers; mobilize updating of legislation on food safety; public awareness and education on safe food practices; improving the food inspection service. The local system is currently characterised by many different agencies, ministries and organisations with responsibilities for food safety, with very little coordination or collaboration. In the progress towards improving the food safety system in Antigua and Barbuda, it was recognised early that there was an urgent need to develop or revised legislation related to food safety. Over the last six years, the National Food safety Committee was lead agency for projects to develop a new Food Safety Act, revise Plant Health and Animal Health Acts. As well as, conduct numerous training in food safety and consultations on food safety matters. The next step is to decide on whether to move towards a coordinated agency or a centralised agency for food safety with an act to govern its establishment.


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