first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Jamaica, September 9, 2017 – Kingston – Chief Technical Director in the Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, Dermon Spence, says the Government is committed to ensuring that Jamaicans have access to safe foods.He said focus is being placed on strengthening policy, institutional and regulatory frameworks and providing technical support for food producers in meeting global safety standards through the implementation and maintenance of food-safety quality-management systems.Mr. Spence noted that the management programmes, which include the Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), are germane to ensuring food security and boosting trade.   He was speaking at the closing ceremony of the Chile Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) Cooperation Project at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston on September 6.The technical cooperation initiative is geared towards the strengthening of the National Codex structure in countries such as Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia and Suriname.    It is focused on the establishment of a sound National Codex Committee that will assist countries to improve participation as well as their ability to discuss topics of interest for the subregion at the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC).The international standard-setting body, with more than 180 members, is responsible for a collection of globally adopted standards, guidelines, codes of practice and other recommendations relating to food production and food safety, known as Codex Alimentarius.The CAC was formed within the framework of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/World Health Organization (WHO) to promote the health and safety of consumers and ensure fairness in the food trade.Mr. Spence, who represented Portfolio Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, at the function, noted that Jamaica has benefited tremendously from the project funded by the Governments of Chile and the United States.   He highlighted, among other things, the production of an approved National Codex Procedural Manual and a Codex Strategic Plan.The manual sets out the basic rules of procedure, the process for elaboration of Codex standards and related texts, and basic definitions and guidelines for the operation of Codex committees.   It is particularly useful for national delegations participating in Codex meetings and for international organisations attending as observers.   The strategic plan incorporates a list of programme areas and planned activities with a clearly defined timetable.Executive Secretary of the Chilean Food Safety and Quality Agency (ACHIPIA), Dr. Michel Leporati, said that throughout the world, an increasing number of consumers and governments are becoming aware of food quality and safety issues.“Consumers are now demanding that their governments take action to ensure that foods are of acceptable quality and that the risks of food-borne diseases are minimised,” he noted.Mr. Leporati said it is important to ensure that the food needs of countries are taken into consideration in the approval of food-related standards.  He pledged that Chile, as the Coordinator of the Codex Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean (CCLAC), will be working with countries to address food-safety challenges.Release: JIS Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:last_img read more

first_imgA plan in the Senate version of the defense authorization bill to limit basic allowance for housing (BAH) payments to actual expenses is being criticized by the Obama administration and military advocates.Instead of offering military members a flat payment based on their rank and location, the Senate plan would cover only expenses for rent and utilities, preventing personnel from pocketing extra payments if they find less expensive housing, reported Military Times.Senate Armed Services Committee staff say the overhaul would save tens of millions of dollars without sacrificing service members’ housing benefits. DOD officials oppose the plan, describing the BAH as part of members’ larger compensation package.In its statement threatening to veto the defense policy bill, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said it “strongly objects” to the proposal, “which would undermine the existing structure of BAH, return the allowance to its distorted state from the mid-1990s, and reinstitute a burdensome and inefficient administrative-authorization process by limiting BAH payments to actual expenses.”OMB’s Statement of Administration Policy criticized the proposed system for ignoring members’ dependency status and said the plan would penalize service members who were part of dual-military couples, a stipulation that would disproportionately hurt female service members. It also would penalize junior members who choose to share housing.Two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine), have introduced amendments to remove the BAH language on the chamber floor during this week’s debate of the measure.“If it isn’t broke, don’t try and fix it,” said Kelly Hruska, government relations director for the National Military Family Association. “The [Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission] looked at this issue last year, and they found the system wasn’t perfect, but it works,” Hruska said, according to the story.The changes are not part of the defense authorization bill passed earlier by the House. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more