Saturday, January 20, 2018

Ministries to meet on safety of imported meat

HEALTHY CHOICE: Prof Sir Michael Marmot, at right, president of the World Medical Association, presents Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh with a copy of his book The Health Gap at a media conference at the Ministry of Health in Port of Spain yesterday. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

Port of Spain
THE safety of meat and meat products coming into this country is engaging the attention of three ministries which will be holding a meeting to discuss the matter and recommend solutions.
This after disclosures during a recent Joint Select Committee meeting, that meat which could be classified as unfit for human consumption was being imported and sold in this country.
The ministries of Health, Agriculture and Trade and Industry will be joining forces as they consult with officials of the Bureau of Standards, Chemistry Food and Drug Division, Public Health Lab, Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and other stakeholders, in a meeting scheduled for two weeks from now, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said yesterday.
Speaking at a news conference at the Ministry of Health head office at Park Street, Port of Spain, Deyalsingh said consumer protection and food safety is a top prority. He said the issue of unsafe meat products has been a subject of discussion for the past couple of months and the time was ripe for it to be addressed in a meaningful way.
“It has been an issue that has been on the back burner for way too long,” Deyalsingh said. “The time is now ripe to coordinate so the population can be assured that the meat and meat products that we are consuming are fit for human consumption.”
Coming out of the meeting, Deyalsingh said, certain reccomendations will be put forward.
Once accepted, the public will be informed, he added.
NCD registry coming

Yesterday Deyalsingh also announced that the ministry will be setting up a non-communicable diseases (NCD) registry to collect data and statistics related to the prevalence of NCDs in theis country.
He said this was necessary as the ministry moves to develop a national NCD policy, which he said could not be done efficiently without proper information.
Deyalsingh said currently the minisry has only one registry, which is a cancer registry.
He said this would be converted to an NCD registry which will track and record information related not only to cancer, but to all types of NCDs, including diabetes and hypertension.
Deyalsingh said national screening protocols for gestational diabetes and a national screening programme for cervical cancers will also be established.
Also present yesterday was Dr Michael Marmot, president of the World Medical Association.
Marmot also stressed that there was need for better information in order to address and manage the problem of NCDs.