The refusal by the Trinidad and Tobago food safety authorities to allow a shipment of coconut water from Guyana to be sold there on the grounds that it does not meet the requisite safety standard could engage the two CARICOM countries at government-to-government level even as the Government Analyst & Food & Drug Department (GAFDD) insists that tests carried out on the product here have given the coconut water a clean bill of Health.
Director of the GAFDD, Marlan Cole confirmed this week that the agency had issued a free Sale Certificate to Roosters Products for the export of a consignment of coconut water to Massy Distribution of Trinidad and Tobago. This newspaper has learnt that samples of the coconut water had also been cleared by the Scientific Research Council of Jamaica during a regional coconut forum in Kingston in November. However, information has since surfaced suggesting that the opinion of the two agencies is not shared by Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CIRI) or the laboratory testing facilities at the University of the West Indies.
The existing regional standard for coconut water was created by the CARICOM Regional Organization for Stan-dards and Quality (CROSQ) and speaks to absence from the product of natural or artificial substance substances or ingredients designed “to enhance its quality or preservation.” The standards also dictate that chemicals present in the product “should only be those present as a result of the natural development of the fruit while on the tree.”….