The Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) is taking a regional approach to establish an integrated agricultural health and food safety regime. The goal is to unite all Caribbean member states to collaborate on national and regional food safety policies to achieve this food safety) initiative (change regime to initiative) stated Dr. Suzan McLennon-Miguel, CAHFSA’s Food Safety Specialist. She went on to say, CAHFSA is an intergovernmental agency mandated in coordinating and organizing actions and activities that will enhance and strengthen the regional harmonized sanitary and phytosanitary mechanisms.

 CAHFSA has three departments, Animal, Plant and Food Safety that are working to develop and provide technical resources for the Caribbean region.  The region initially began trading in food using banana boats and over time introduced trade via air cargo. As the world advances with new information and technology so too the Caribbean must be on the move to embrace the global changes to continue trading our food.  The Caribbean food safety challenges are twofold, the first is ensuring safe food for over 76 million Caribbean people plus our annual tourist. The second is ensuring nutritious food are provided to ensure healthy populations in the region.

 This year we joined the world in celebrating “World Food Safety Day” and call on all our Caribbean stakeholders’ governments, industry providers and consumers to take the first steps to learn how to make our food safe to eat. We need to know where and how our food is grown, identify any foodborne hazards and the food must be traceable for us to address the causes. Organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Health Organization of the United Nations (WHO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and Codex Alimentarius (CODEX) provide scientific food safety guidelines and following these guidelines are imperative for better health. CAHFSA stands ready, working with these organizations and other Caribbean regional partners to guide and strengthen each Caribbean country to harmonize their food safety system within the region.

 Food is a basic human right; no single country can solve existing or emerging food safety challenges. We all face the same food safety challenges such as food fraud, food contamination by chemicals, antibiotic resistant microbes, food additives that causes cancers or death. Food poisoning or foodborne diseases are also on the list and if it is not food scarcity, it is food waste. The solution: all countries must work together to put food safety measures in place. We must move as one, united together with one goal; to provide safer food and better health.