US Embassy denies PNP claim of food bans

(Jamaica Observer) The United States Embassy in Kingston has dismissed a claim by the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) that temporary bans had been imposed on some local food processors after they were inspected by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to the US Embassy, the FDA inspections were “a routine check of agricultural products production and processing, and was co-ordinated through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries of Jamaica, the Bureau of Standards of Jamaica, and the exporters themselves”.

The embassy said Thursday that the inspections assist Jamaican exporters by assuring that the FDA’s standards are met, and that Jamaican goods will be eligible for importation and sale in the US.

On Tuesday, the PNP said it had information that the export of food to the US by some local companies had been suspended until they had complied with the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA).

According to the party’s spokesman on industry, investment and commerce, Anthony Hylton, “a number of these firms may now have to close down or scale back their operations and this could result in the further laying off of hundreds of workers”.

Meanwhile, the FDA decided to suspend the assessment with only one of four companies inspected. It cited concerns about the mis-characterisation of the FDA inspector’s visit.

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