US food safety laws closing in

-non-compliance could cost Guyana big

Public and private sector attendees at the FSMA forum

Failure to comply with the regulations set out in the 2011 United States Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) could result in Guyana losing a US market for fresh and processed foods worth more than $1.4 billion, including spices and condiments worth in excess of US$1.4 million dollars.

The eventuality, according to Managing Director of the Jamaican company, Technology Solutions Ltd (TSL), Food Technologist, Dr. Andre Gordon, could result from delinquency in the productive sector with regard to compliance with the FSMA.

In an exclusive interview with the Stabroek Business on Wednesday, Dr. Gordon named seafoods, fresh fruit, vegetables, agro-processed condiments and alcoholic beverages as being among locally produced items originating in Guyana that could find themselves shut out of the US market through failure to comply with the provisions of the Act.

A former President of the Jamaica Exporters’ Association, Dr. Gordon is in Guyana to help deliver, in collaboration with the local Government Analyst-Food & Drug Department (GA-FDD), a two-day (September 27-28) programme designed to certify individuals from the public and private sectors as Preventive Control Qualified Individuals (PSQI’s) competent to oversee the effective implementation of the provisions associated with the FSMA. Apart from technical officers employed with the Food and Drug Department responsible for overseeing the entities, the two-day Seminar is being attended by representatives of a number of local private sector companies including Banks DIH Ltd, Demerara Distillers Ltd, Sterling Products, Ricks & Sari, Jets Enterprise and Edward B. Beharry, among others.

Dr. Andre Gordon

In a presentation at the opening session, Dr. Gordon had told the participants that a point was being reached where it was becoming increasingly difficult for small importers to slip in “a couple of pallets” of goods into the USA undetected. He said that companies in the region were now contacting TSL after having received entry prohibition notification for intended imports into the USA or also actually having their goods held up at ports of entry.

The Government of Guyana, since the passage of the FSMA legislation under the Obama administration, has been largely indifferent to the need to create an enabling environment in which valuable US markets for food exports can be effectively protected. A case in point has been the failure to invest adequately in the creation of a suitably staffed and equipped technical complex that would afford the GA-FDD the capacity to provide proper certification to local foods seeking entry into the US market.   Dr. Gordon told Stabroek Business that the sense of urgency associated with compliance with the provisions of the FSMA now required that interest in the issue extend directly to the executive level in business organizations. He said that full and effective implementation of the law will inevitably affect companies’ ‘bottom lines’ so that vested interest dictates that exercises that have to do with training and sensitization attract the attention of owners and executives. He said that in the process of helping to respond to the need for Guyana to become more aware of the critical issues associated with the FSMA, TSL was also interested in reaching out to local Business Support Organizations including the Private Sector Commission, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association.

Asked whether a point had been reached where exporters from Guyana and the rest of the region could face increasing scrutiny from the United States Food & Drug Administration (US FDA) to ensure that food imports into the USA comply with the provisions of the FSMA, Gordon told Stabroek Business that companies in the region are already beginning to be affected by communication from the US FDA notifying them of likely non-compliance. “Things could reach a point where companies in this part of the world could find themselves shut out of the United States market”, Gordon told this newspaper.

Comments  

Wardens to be deployed against gold smugglers next year – Finance Minister

The efforts of the Ministry of Natural Resources attended by external support notwithstanding, the Government of Guyana still considers the phenomenon of gold smuggling to be seriously injurious to the country’s economy and in his recent 2018 budget presentation to the National Assembly, Finance Minister Winston Jordan set out the APNU+AFC administration’s proposals for helping to address this problem.

Company to oversee Guyana’s commercial petroleum interests to be created next year

aNatural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman has disclosed three key objectives which the Government of Guyana will be pursuing in 2018 to consolidate its capacity to effectively service a modern oil and gas industry including a national oil company which will be charged with responsibility for overseeing the country’s commercial interest in the sector.

Hinterland communities promised $200m Green Enterprise Development Centre

Against the backdrop of longstanding concerns over a dire shortage of job opportunities in hinterland communities, government has disclosed plans in the 2018 budgetary proposals for a $200 million investment in the Hinterland Green Enterprise Development Centre at Bina Hill in Region Nine which, according to Finance Minister Winston Jordan, seeks to focus on areas of training “that leverages indigenous and traditional knowledge and drives upstream demand for local products and services.” The disclosure in Jordan’s 2018 budget presentation of what he describes as a “flagship initiative” comes against the backdrop of a growing clamour for the creation of job opportunities for residents of hinterland communities that go beyond their reliance on the production and sale of traditional craft and small scale agriculture.

A hinterland community readies itself for township status

These days, there are unmistakable indications that Mahdia is busying itself preparing to embrace the township status that beckons.

Lucas sees 2018 as breakout year for UG’s School of Business

Five months after the University of Guyana’s School of Entrepreneurship and Business, (SEBI) was launched, Dean of the new institution, Guyanese-born Professor Leyland Lucas has told the Stabroek Business that some of the challenges that repose in ensuring that the institution delivers on its mandate repose in the fact that “it is different.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×