Fellow Guyanese, today we join people around the world to commemorate the 2nd World Food Safety Day under the theme “Food safety, everybody’s business”. Food safety, a matter of growing importance, encompasses all the practices carried out during production, handling, distribution, preparation and storage of food in order to guarantee its safety for consumption. This year, the focus is placed on food markets by inspiring action to help prevent, detect and manage food-borne risks which contribute to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development.
As we celebrate this day during the Coronavirus pandemic, it is important to note that Guyana’s role in the assurance of food security within the region has been recognized, as we provide critical support in ensuring that the food supply for Caricom states is maintained. In addition, we must all be reminded that together we play an important role in ensuring that food is safe and nutritious. This includes governments enforcing regulations and promoting more sustainable solutions, food producers and vendors adopting and applying good hygiene practices like Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) along the food supply chain and consumers making healthier choices and pushing for a safer food supply.
In Guyana’s progression towards an effective and more sustainable system for ensuring not only food security but access to safe food as well as maintenance of a healthy and productive population, the Food Safety Act was passed and assented to by His Excellency, President David Granger, in 2019. As a country, we are well on our way to developing an Integrated Food Safety Authority. This Authority will be grounded in a risk-based regulatory system focused on decreasing food-borne illnesses and non-communicable diseases in addition to improving confidence for consumers and our trading partners.
I look forward to significant actions in the area of food safety in Guyana in 2020 and the years beyond and leave you with the WHO’s five keys to safer food; keep clean, separate raw and cooked food, cook food thoroughly, keep food at safe temperatures and use safe raw materials and water.