Health Authority Holds Training for Food Safety Inspectors

Today, Food Safety Inspectors for the Belize Agriculture and Health Authority, BAHA, are forming part of a training workshop at the Biltmore Hotel. The workshop, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, HACCP, is designed to properly educate the food safety inspectors about the hazards and risks food products. This time around, the workshop is primarily dealing with meat and poultry. According to the Food Safety Director for BAHA, Doctor Miguel Figueroa, the training has seven key principles.

DR. MIGUEL FIGUEROA

“The seven principles are conducting a hazard analysis to determine what are the risks involved in processing plants, in processing a product. HACCP is a quality assurance system that ensures that the end product is safe for human consumption; so, it’s basically, identifying the hazards that are associated with meat inspection and producing meats and how you control those hazards in the whole chain processing; from the time you receive an animal to the slaughtering facilities up to when it is slaughtered and the carcasses are distributed; so, you follow that chain and you determine what are the risks and see how you can prevent any risk to human whenever humans consume the final product. The Mennonite community is the one of the main players in the training because they are the ones who are producing the chickens, the meats. Presently, some of them do have the HACCP plan but most of them are not implementing the HACCP system; so, one of their main problems would be they do not have any good manufacturing practices; some of them do have the HACCP plan but they are not enforcing or carrying out the plan. This training is a reminder that any facility that produces food for human consumption should have some kind of quality system to follow.”

Also forming part of the training workshop is Caribbean Chicken, one of the country’s largest producers and distributor of chicken. Representing Caribbean Chicken was Johan Friesen, who says every eight and half week, Caribbean Chicken produces approximately three hundred and seventy five thousands chicken for the market. According to Friesen, Caribbean Chicken has been semi-implementing the HACCP program.

JOHAN FRIESEN

“What I have been learning about the HACCP program is how to identify the hazards in the procedures, so we can eliminate or reduce the level of contamination. We have a HACCP and it is partially implemented but not to the full extent of traceability and labeling. In monitoring, we have the list of identified hazards and we do monitoring throughout the whole day.”

The two day workshop is funded by International Development Bank under BAHA’s food safety program is being led by Doctor Larry Eubanks, professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Florida.

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