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Apr 7, 2015

Looking at Food Safety on World Health Day

Jorge Polanco

Today is being celebrated as World Health Day under the theme of Food Safety. It’s not a topic that we often think about, but it’s a very serious matter for your health. While Belize hasn’t faced any major food borne epidemic, the risk still exists, considering the importance of food for local consumption, tourism product offering, and exportation of food products. Then, there is the burden it would put on our health system should there be a major disease outbreak. So, the Ministry of Health and its partners have been working to sensitize the public about food safety. In their media rounds, they discussed the steps being taken to certify food establishments.

 

Dr. Jorge Polanco, Coordinator, INCAP

“The truth is that over the last decade there have been some emerging situations that have put food safety up on the forefront as a priority for INCAP and Paho; for many reasons. Food safety industry is a transnational item issue. There have been many outbreaks associated with travelling, outbreaks associated with environmental sanitation. At least two hundred diseases are linked to food safety; food borne illnesses. Even Belize is no stranger to experiencing this in the past, but small outbreaks; I would say small outbreaks.”

 

John Bodden

John Bodden, Principal Public Health Inspector, Ministry of Health

“In 2008, the Ministry of Health embarked on a program to ensure the food safety. The first part of the program is for the people who work in that area and the first part is for the training to ensure they have the skills when dealing with food. It has been seven years now and what we are now going to do is to go to the second tier of that program for the certification of food establishment. So by this year that will start to be categorized in three categories and will indicate the status or level of that establishment meeting the basic requirement.”

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