CARPHA Promoting Food Safety In The Caribbean – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is spearheading a significant food safety collaboration with regional health and tourism stakeholders for the Cricket World Cup and other mass-crowd events.

The disclosure came in a CARPHA release marking World Food Safety Day on June 7th.

Six Caribbean countries, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago, are ICC Men’s T20 World Cup match hosts.

CARPHA disclosed that it was assisting the host countries in strengthening surveillance, early warning and response, laboratory, health, prevention and control, and food safety capacity for the games and other mass gathering events.

According to CARPHA, during the Cricket World Cup preparatory phase from February to May 2024, almost 900 food vendors likely to sell food at the cricket stadiums and environs received training in Food Safety for Food Handlers at Mass Gathering Events.

A mass gathering surveillance system was developed and implemented to capture the six internationally recognized potential syndromes, including gastroenteritis.

CARPHA has trained and certified over 500 persons in nine Member States in advanced food safety.

The regional health agency is also implementing an integrated foodborne diseases programme.

According to a CARPHA release, the programme involves integrating the epidemiological, laboratory, environmental, and veterinary aspects of foodborne disease surveillance and response into a coordinated programmatic approach regionally and nationally.

In addition, the regional health agency disclosed that it has developed a suite of hospitality, health, food safety, and environmental standards.

CARPHA noted that foodborne diseases remain a public health concern in the Caribbean and worldwide, with one in 10 people worldwide falling ill from contaminated food each year.

The organisation revealed increasing reports of foodborne disease cases and outbreaks across CARPHA member states, especially in the tourism and cruise ship industry.

In this regard, CARPHA observed that foodborne diseases can cause morbidity and mortality and have a significant economic, social, and reputational impact on trade and tourism.

However, CARPHA said it remains committed to working with partners and its 26 Member States to strengthen regional food safety through multi-sectoral collaboration, capacity-building activities, and information and communication exchanges.

“Food safety is crucial for supporting economic productivity in the tourism-dependent, vastly culinary-diverse Caribbean region,” Dr. Lisa Indar, Director of Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control Division at CARPHA, stated.