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May 24, 2017

Caribbean Chicken is Now Certified

A few weeks ago, Quality Poultry Products of the Cayo District became the first company to certify to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points standard, securing a potential place in the regional market and boosting their brand’s reputation for safe, nutritious and tasty poultry. Today, northern competitors Caribbean Chicken did the same, completing an eleven-year journey that takes the company ever closer to entering the Caribbean with its own brand. News Five’s Aaron Humes made the journey up north to Blue Creek and found that the work has only just begun.

 

Aaron Humes

“Mountains and valleys, where prairies roll.” Samuel Haynes may well have been describing the village of Blue Creek, Orange Walk District, where today Caribbean Chicken took a major step toward becoming another of Belize’s top exporters.”

Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) intends to ensure that all biological, chemical, and physical hazards in production processes are prevented from contaminating the final product. After eleven years, a new, larger plant, and many meetings with the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Caribbean Chicken, Ben Rempel, says their process from culling the hatcheries to what you see in the supermarket is mostly fool-proof.

 

Ben Rempel

Ben Rempel, Chairman, Caribbean Chicken

“When BAHA came into existence, there was greater insistence on our achieving international food safety standards. BAHA’s Food Safety Department, under the leadership of the late Dr. Michael DeShield, organized seminars and training in food safety, HACCP and other matters. In 2006 BAHA commenced work with us toward HACCP compliance. I still recall the first meetings, long ago, with BAHA Food Safety Department and doing inspections ante-mortem and during the slaughtering and processing process. There remain some concerns over the cost which would include transportation and other fees. After several meetings and negotiations, we finally agreed to a mutual, beneficial agreement and the rest is history in terms to the inspections. It has not stopped since it has started and we can truthfully say that we are happy with the outcomes.”

 

Minister of Agriculture and guest speaker Godwin Hulse noted that Belizean mothers and housewives control the family purse and make the real decisions about what food goes on the table – like his own.

 

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture

“This morning when I was saying to my wife that I was going to Caribbean Chicken, she said, “Oh! I went out there some time with my brother” – he’s an environmental engineer and he was doing something – she says, “And now I am buying from them because it’s more convenient on the Northern Highway when I turn over the new bridge.” I said okay, madam; I didn’t even know there was a place there. So she has switched her loyalty, and again, she’s a discriminating mother and professional, so your product must be good; that is the measure. You see, one of the things I learnt years ago in food products is: no matter how good you think you have your product, no matter what you think you are doing right, no matter how impressive your staff, no matter how impressive your facility and how many millions you have invested – the test of that product is the acceptance by the consumer. And more fundamentally and I will repeat for the third time – mothers around the world because they are the ones that will decide whether the product stays or goes.”

 

But Caribbean Chicken is not content to fluff up its feathers – it intends to go further.

 

Reuben Froese

Reuben Froese, Caribbean Chicken

“We now have the green light to export into the Caribbean, CARICOM countries, but definitely that is something that we are anticipating in the near future , that we will be able to export; but HACCP is not only for export – it is to ensure the product for local consumption. It definitely has been a challenge. I wouldn’t say that it has been harder than we had first anticipated; but it has been a challenge; [we are] blessed through it, nevertheless.”

 

Aaron Humes

“Reporting from the Caribbean Chicken processing plant in Blue Creek, Orange Walk District, Aaron Humes for News Five.”

 

Caribbean Chicken employs three hundred persons and produces more than fifty thousand pounds of chicken and turkeys annually.

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