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Rambharat on Food fraud:

Thursday, July 5, 2018
Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat speaks during the Food Fraud Panel discussion while looking on are Panel Moderator Senator Sophia Chote, SC, left. Other panelist are Dr Akhila Vasan Science Education Foundation Grocery Manufacturers Association Washington, DC during the Food Fraud Prevention and Mitigation Conference at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain yesterday. Photo by:ANISTO ALVES

Moringa will not get rid of belly fat. Nor will it work to eliminate cancer.

If it did then there would be no such leaves in the world, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat said yesterday.

Rambharat made the comment at the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute’s Food Fraud Conference at Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain.

He said when discussions arise regarding food fraud it is was acceptable to talk about concerns over dietary and health supplements, as he warned there were risks associated with them. The minister also urged citizens to be vigilant and guard themselves against false claims made in advertising surrounding popular foods and supplements.

“Our history has been traditional remedies. When you turn on the TV you wonder what is going on in this country,” Rambharat said.

“We have clearly lost our way. We have allowed a lot of charlatans, snake oil salesmen, to fill the television offering all these miracles cures and in some cases handed to them by the Lord Himself,” the minister added, saying that the life and health of citizens are too important to “be playing the fool.”

He said food fraud is multi-dimensional and raises several areas of concerns, especially regarding the misinformation which is spread. These risks can range from minimal, having no serious health consequences to serious financial losses for companies.

He noted that his pet peeve was fine print labelling, as often times the writing is too small, a matter Rambharat added has been tabled for the Bureau of Standards to tackle.

Rambharat added that greater efforts are being made to ensure local poultry depots meet necessary sanitary requirements.

Sheep and Goat Farmers Association Shiraz Khan called for better standards to be implemented regarding poultry and other meats.

“We ought to be importing only what we need. For example, if Trinidad consumes 100 metric tonnes of chicken and we are producing 60 tonnes, shouldn’t we be importing only 40 tonnes?

“Where are the regulations regarding the quantities of importation? Those things have not been addressed.” Khan said.

The conference aims to strengthen the ability of the local food industry to detect and combat food fraud across the supply chains and thus protect customers by enabling companies to identify their vulnerabilities and plan mitigation efforts.


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