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Representatives of small and medium-sized  food  processors and food industry professionals have completed  a two-day  workshop  aimed at building their capacity for implementing food traceability systems which  ensure that health concerns about the safety and quality of food produced  locally, imported or exported are adequately addressed.The capacity building workshop was an activity organized by the local office of the Inter American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) in collaboration with the Global Food Traceability Centre (GFTC) of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Chicago, Illinois.The workshop was funded by the European Union under the 10th EDF project of “Support to the Caribbean forum of ACP states in the implementation of commitments undertaken under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA): Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures”.The traceability programme is one element of the SPS venture which aims to increase CARIFORUM states’ production and trade in agriculture and fisheries, which meet international standards and thereby qualify these products  for access to international markets in Europe and North America.The venue was the Regency Suites Hotel in Hadfield Street, Georgetown, and the workshop was held on Tuesday and Wednesday.Officials  present at the launch on Tuesday included Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr George Jervis; Executive Board Member of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association, Mr Raymond Ramsaroop; Local IICA representative, Mr Wilmot Garnett and senior staffers of the IICA.The resource persons for the programme were Mr. Tejas Bhatt,Mike Singletary Bears Jersey, Director of the IFT and Mr. Jaheon Koo,Jason Peters Eagles Jersey, Director of Food Safety Programmes of the IFT.Topics dealt with at the workshop included: Principles and practice of traceability and recall systems; its role in the implementation and management of food safety management systems and tools required for implementing the traceability system.The organisers stressed that apart from guaranteeing local food safety, gaining a capability for traceability is necessary for exporting food to the major markets in Europe and North America.Public sector participants included representatives from the New Guyana Marketing Corporation, Guyana School of Agriculture,Cincinnati Reds Desmond Jennings Jersey, University of Guyana,Gary Cahill Chelsea Jersey UK, the Government Analyst/Food and Drug Department,Hugo Lloris Jersey, Guyana National Bureau of Standards, Guyana Livestock Development Authority, National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute and the National Milling Company.Private sector participants included representatives from Bounty Farm, Prestige Manufacturing Limited,Steve Birnbaum Jersey, Major Foods Limited, Edward Beharry and Sons, Ricks and Sari, Sterling Products, Jet’s Enterprises, Women Agricultural Development Network and Survival Supermarket.
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