By BBN Staff: Today, the Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) and the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) teamed up to host a joint seminar in commemoration of both World Food Safety Day, celebrated today June 7, and World Accreditation Day, to be celebrated on June 9.
The joint seminar, held at the BAHA conference room on St. Joseph Street, gathered stakeholders in the area of food safety such as the Public Health Department within the Ministry of Health, as well as private sector entities such as Quality Poultry Products and Marie Sharps Foods. The goal of the seminar was to establish a link between accreditation and food safety, which ties into the World Food Safety Day global theme “Food Safety, everyone’s business.”
“Food safety is an issue worldwide,” explained Dr. Miguel Figueroa, the Food Safety Director of BAHA. “The World Health Organization estimates that one in 10 people do get sick from eating contaminated food. And
out of that, we have about 425,000 people dying because of foodborne illness.”
He noted that in Belize, there is a lack of accurate data of food-borne illnesses because many Belizeans self-medicate, and many of
the reports of illnesses also don’t reach BAHA but go to another arm of the health sector.
Director of the Bureau of Standards, Jose Trejo, explained that accreditation plays a large role in food safety because accredited facilities are operating at a global standard when it comes to safe business practices such as manufacturing, storage, and preparation. He stressed that the BBS is the local body charged with developing the country’s quality infrastructure, and is looking into being able to offer some accreditation services in the future.