New Food safety advisories and Searchable database and update on the current USA recalls in peanut containing food products contaminated with Salmonella.

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Food Safety Advisories

Belize City, February 2nd 2009 - FOOD SAFETY ADVISORY
Update No 1
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority, The Ministry of Health and the Consumer Protection Unit of the Belize Bureau of Standards Advises Consumers that Peanut Butter Products Originating from United States and offered for sale in Belize May be Contaminated with Salmonella.

Belize City, January 20th, 2009 - The Belize Agricultural Health Authority, The Ministry of Health and the Consumer Protection Unit of the Belize Bureau of Standards Advises Consumers that Peanut Butter Products Originating from United States and offered for sale in Belize May be Contaminated with Salmonella.

Belmopan, September 24, 2008 - Belize Agricultural Health Authority and
Ministry of Health Advise Consumers that Milk and Milk Products
Originating from China May be Contaminated with Melamine

 

Click here for Procedure for the Acquisition of Import Permits

The Food Safety Department has a mandate to monitor, evaluate and take action on any matters that may have a direct or indirect effect on the safety of the food supply. This is done not only for the export market, but for local consumption as well. Providing safe, wholesome and nutritious food is also regarded as a requirement under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement, to which Belize is a signatory.

To carry out this increasingly important role, the Food Safety Department is active in the following areas:

A team of Food Safety Inspectors performs sanitary inspections of the various food-processing plants as well as on certain food products imported into Belize. The Inspectors are continuously trained in the latest inspection and sanitary auditing techniques, so as to be able to respond to any new methods of food processing applied by industry, and to the ever changing conditions encountered in food preparation and processing environment that may have an impact on food safety.


A certification programme, based on the implementation of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) food safety system was established for the fish and fishery products processing industry in Belize which enabled Belize to export these products freely to both the USA and the European Union (EU). The farm to table approach of BAHA`s food safety program, provides for food safety assurances along the entire chain, from the production site on the farm with the application of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), to the processing plants' implementation of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Standard Sanitary Operating Procedures (SSOP) and HACCP systems that is verified and certified by BAHA`s inspectors and sanitary auditors. Other certification programmes, such as one for meat processing plants and one for fruit and vegetable packing plants are currently being developed in collaboration with industry and other regulatory agencies.


Investigations into food borne diseases and outbreaks have been very basic in Belize thus far. The staff of the Food Safety Department has been upgrading its capacity for carrying out such investigations and a structured programme has been put in place to start appropriate monitoring, evaluation and response to food borne diseases.


The food safety department applies the principles of Risk Analysis when called to evaluate the risks arising from hazards (or potential hazards) in foods to ensure that the various food exporting and importing establishments comply with current internationally accepted rules and regulations for the safe handling of food. In collaboration with the SPS Unit, companies may request a Risk Analysis to be conducted by a BAHA-team in order to be able to import certain food items into Belize.


BAHA has accelerated the upgrading of the Central Investigation Laboratory (CIL) of the Food Safety Department by purchasing state-of-the-art equipment and providing high-quality training for the staff to enable them to use this equipment competently, professionally and with optimum efficiency. The Laboratory is enrolled in several proficiency testing and quality assurance programs to ensure testing excellence and gain industry and consumer confidence as well as to keep abreast of international developments in the field.

CIL is offering a wide range of Laboratory Services at regionally competitive prices.


The BAHA Act of 1999 (Chapter 211 of the Laws of Belize) gave provision for the establishment of the Food Safety Department to effectively put in place the necessary regulations and controls, allowing BAHA to deal with the issues where food affect human health. The legislation is being reviewed and revised (January 2006) to reflect new regulatory developments (such as traceability requirements) in the global demand for food safety. Regulations dealing with the import and export of food items are being implemented by BAHA's programmes, such as Import Permits and Certification Programmes.


The Food Safety Department has been taking on the role of educator in issues of food safety. This is done not only for food processors but also for policymakers, technical officers and consumers. A public that is educated in issues surrounding food safety is the key to the implementation of safe food safety practices. A BAHA multi-disciplinary team will always be ready to promote food safety education in your establishment: from the basics of food safety to the latest on food safety technology.


Laison/International Collaboration

The food safety department actively pursues collaborative work and liaisons with its international partners involved in food safety. By seeking out and collaborating with those international organizations that have a similar focus, BAHA can dovetail their work programme to complement what food safety programmes or tasks need to be done in the country with less duplication of roles and effect conservation of scarce financial resources. Many of the food safety programmes and plan of work established by BAHA has been augmented and supported by international organizations (e.g. FAO, WHO/PAHO, OIRSA, IICA) having the same focus and wanting to achieve similar goals. Partnering with these agencies avoids duplication and strengthens collaborative efforts in food safety.

 

Contact the Food Safety Department
Dr. Michael DeShield, Director
St. Joseph Street
P.O. Box
Belize City, BELIZE
Tel: 011-501-224-4794
Fax: 011-501-224-5230
E-mail:
foodsafety@btl.net


 

 
Copyright 2006 Belize Agricultural Health Authority. All Rights Reserved.
 


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