Food security systems, consumers and public health assumed full focus at the closing activity of the technical cooperation project of the codex committee for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Hyatt Regency Hotel yesterday.
The event which marked the end of a three-day long workshop which sought to improve dialogue and networking between local and regional stakeholders in the agriculture sector in establishing a standardised framework for the trade of produce. Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat during his feature address reaffirmed his ministry’s commitment to ensuring safe and affordable food to the nation and the region, adding that food security was everyone’s concern.
“I think that food safety systems cuts across everything that we do and if politicians don’t believe that it is their business, then they are not consuming food. It is something that affects all of us.”
Rambharat added that food safety was especially important to the workforce as it has been shown that food borne illnesses have been responsible for a disproportionately high incidence of absenteeism in TT.
He also addressed claims of the Moringa plant as a potential treatment for serious ailments, urging consumers to do the necessary research on products before consuming them.
“I believe that at a minimum and with a big push, Moringa can be considered to be a food supplement. I am not technically qualified to pronounce on it but I know Moringa does not qualify to be a cure for cancer, a cure for diabetes.”
“I don’t think that anyone who is out there in flea markets who are advertising Moringa as a cure for all these things should be dispensing the sort of medical advice that they dispense.”
The Minister said that in addition to the health and trade aspect of food security, the necessary precautions ought to be taken to protect consumers from fraudulent claims about produce.
Chilean Ambassador HE Fernando Schmidt also extended his congratulations to TT for taking the first steps towards regional dialogue on establishing the Codex Manual and Strategic Plan which are geared towards food security. He said that the project was testament of Chile’s continued commitment to promoting regional sustainability adding that TT had enormous potential for growth in the agricultural sector.