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Feb 21, 2017

“Fu Wi Chikin” Certified!

Quality Poultry Products say that quality is not just in the name – the quality has been internationally certified. Belize’s largest poultry producer has obtained its HACCP certification. This is a guarantee that states that as producers of poultry they have implemented management systems in which poultry safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product. So, what does this mean for Quality Poultry? Well, they are the first poultry producer to be certified and for consumers it means that the chicken products you are eating have passed a number of standards – so food safety as it relates to the chicken from Quality Poultry is guaranteed. But this certification may also open up doors for this local chicken producer. Andrea Polanco was in Spanish Lookout on Monday for the big announcement.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Quality Poultry Products is now HACCP certified – making it the first poultry plant in Belize to achieve this certification. The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) certification has been in the making for some three to four years. HACCP is a system which provides the framework for monitoring the total food process, from primary production to final consumption, to reduce the risk of food borne illnesses – in this case that the chicken products are free of biological, chemical or physical contaminants. This internationally recognized system is designed to identify and control potential problems before they occur. BAHA is the local agency that administers HACCP – and so every year they do a review to ensure that standards are being complied with the seven basic principles:


Emir Cruz

Emir Cruz, Managing Director, BAHA

“You need to do first a hazard analysis; you need to establish your critical control points and then in that case you have to establish critical limits; you need to have a monitoring programme to monitor those points and if at any point you need to be prepared that in case there is a hazard that you also have an action plan. Of course, then you would have to have a programme of verification and in HACCP, I believe one of the basic tenets is that if you haven’t written it down you haven’t done it. So, basically they have to have a system of proper documentation and yes, they are audited. In this particular case, it is us, BAHA, that do that to ensure that the food is always meeting the standards.”


For Quality Poultry Products this meant major upgrades and works at their plant facility in Spanish Lookout where up to thirty thousand chickens are processed every day. The financial investment made over the last few years to get HACCP ready is over five million dollars.


Raymond Barkman

Raymond Barkman, Managing Director, Quality Poultry Products

“First of all, the processing room for those who went through the tour, has to be fifty-two Fahrenheit which is really cold, right. And which is colder than comfortable if I may call it that way especially for some of us Belizeans here. And then of course, some of the materials you put on the wall has to be wash ready, heat ready and pretty much you can only use this certain stuff. Obviously, bio-security is a big thing; the sanitary issue is very big and the list just keeps going and as you see it starts with the water that is coming into the processing plant and we have to spend a lot of money treating the water as it is coming in because remember we have a food product. Even through-out processing you have to treat the water and of course with the ice and chilling tank and so forth, it has to be purified water because this is a raw product and then of course you have to treat the water going out to the creek to make DOE happy. The process is long.”


Getting HACCP certified also means that there may be opportunities for Quality Poultry Products in the international market. But local demand for HACCP certified poultry products was also a key factor behind the decision to get certified.


Daniel Gutierrez

Daniel Gutierrez, CARICOM Ambassador

“We wish to grow this and we want to see other Belizean producers be able to follow in these footsteps because as the third largest trading partner for Belize, I think CARICOM has a lot more opportunities and we welcome other Belizean products to do as Quality Poultry Products have done.”


Raymond Barkman

“The competition is fierce, right; as you know there are four other major competitors in this country besides us, so what we do, I mean the extra market is out there which first we are going to focus on Belize – for the Belizean public to have food safety – and obviously the consumers were pushing it and not only the consumers, but the resorts were also pushing for it – so a lot of it came from the high end resorts and hopefully for the export market.  Every time when we went to the export market, at the door, the first question asked was ‘Do you have HACCP?  Do you have HACCP? And whenever that door opens that is the question we get asked, right, ‘Do you have HACCP?’ ‘No, we don’t’ and that door closes. So, here is what I hope that HACCP does for us, is that now when that door opens there is nothing keeping us back and we can go in.”


Minister of Agriculture Godwin Hulse was on his first official visit to Quality Poultry Products. He was impressed with the operations and says that being HACCP certified is a testimony to the quality coming out of Quality Poultry Products and Belize.


Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture

“The first thing that jumped out from the Belizean standpoint is the high level and quality production. I guess the name Quality Poultry fits them quite well. Very sanitary; meeting all the HACCP standards. The people working here seems to be very well trained and efficient at what they do. And so, from the Belizean standpoint I think there could be a confidence – especially after this is broadcast – that when you buy one of these chickens or any of the parts, you are getting a world class product.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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