By Linda Straker
The USA Food safety and Modernisation Act will affect the way Grenada does business with the USA, in terms of exporting raw and process products for the commercial market. Recently, a group of farmers who are some of the main suppliers of products to the MNIB, were provided with a better understanding about the piece of legislation.
“An importer of food to the USA has to make sure that the supplier of the product meets the obligation of the USA act, or it can negatively affect the business,” said Margaret Kola Ouma, Food Safety Expert from the International Trade Centre.
She explained to the farmers that there are a number of requirements within the law, and farmers will have to make a deliberate effort to embrace the standards, and implement it if they’re willing to continue supplying the USA market.
“You have to make a good effort to adopt these standards,” she said, while explaining that Grenada’s decision to approve the Food Safety legislation is a good decision, that will not only work in the best interest of protecting its export to the USA market, but also at the same encourage farmers to abide by regulations.
“It’s an assurance that the product from Grenada, will be fit for human consumption through competent laboratory and inspection bodies,” she said.
Chief Environmental Health Officer, Andre Worme, said that the passage of the legislation earlier this year provides for all persons who will be handling food to follow approved regulations in the interest of protecting consumers.
Ruel Edwards, Chief Executive Officer of the MNIB, said that MNIB is taking the opportunity to educate the farmers who are main suppliers of its products to the USA, because if the MNIB cannot export to the USA market, a range of products will be affected.
“We know that it will not be an easy process, and the MNIB will have to make some serious adjustments, but we are ensuring that the necessary action is taken to protect our market,” he said.
Samuel Andrew, who is the Chairman of the MNIB Board of Directors, told the farmers that they have to make a conscious effort to understand that the international community is changing, and the only way Grenada will be able to maintain export to some of these markets is to comply with international standards and regulations.
“The bigger picture here is to protect farmers and build the agriculture sector,” he said.