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Food safety challenges in the Pacific: The case of Fiji

Lako, Jimaima V. and Mutukumira, Anthony and Jokhan, Anjeela D. and Peter, Hoejskovp and Samuela, B (2012) Food safety challenges in the Pacific: The case of Fiji. [Book, Journal, Proceedings Edited]

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Foodborne disease and food contamination continue to be significant public health issues in the Pacific. The exact number of people suffering from foodborne diseases is unknown due to many unreported cases and that monitoring and surveillance systems remain weak. Food safety is a shared responsibility between all stakeholders along the food chain including producers, processors, distributors, retailers, and consumers. Assuring food safety in the Pacific is a great challenge due to weak national food control systems, limited awareness of food safety risk factors among consumers and limited compliance capacity among food businesses. Most countries in the region either have or are in the process of developing risk-based food legislation in line with Codex and a common Pacific approach. However, enforcement and compliance need substantial improvements and considerable capacity building of food inspectors is needed. In the case of Fiji, the “Food Safety Regulation 2009” came into effect in 2010 after some life-threatening food poisoning episodes resulting in hospitalization of several people and death of one person. Food safety and quality challenges for Fiji include the control of cyanide in cassava, cadmium in taro, mercury, histamine and ciguatera in fish and Escherichia coli in green leafy vegetables as well as contamination of ready-to-eat foods. Aggravation of microbial contamination is mainly due to poor handling practices, improper preparation and storage as well as time-temperature abuse. Food quality issues include inadequate labeling, poor grading and packaging compliance. Some major challenges for Fiji to be addressed include poor hygienic practices among food handlers, limited capacity and resources as well as unclear division of roles and responsibilities between town/city councils and the Food Unit of the Ministry of Health. The control of imported foods is also an enormous challenge for Fiji which needs greater coordination and harmonization of food regulatory systems between Fiji and its trading partners.

Item Type: Book, Journal, Proceedings Edited
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
Depositing User: Jimaima Lako
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2015 02:35
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2016 22:55

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