GA-FDD engages food services industry on healthy food practices
DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, August 30, 2017
The Government Analyst Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD) of the Ministry of Public Health, hosted a one-day seminar for food handlers and other food establishment operatives on Wednesday August 30, 2017 at the Cara Lodge, Quamina Street, Georgetown.
The workshop was held specifically for persons who prepare and serve ‘ready to eat’ foods and to inform participants of the importance of serving food to consumers at the correct temperature. Participants were also sensitised on their responsibility to ensure high risk foods are stored, transported or distributed in conducive and healthy environments.
It was advised that all foods, whether packaged or prepared for immediate consumption should be in compliance with the food based standards and dietary guidelines. To safeguard the overall health of a consumer.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO) of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Boyle in her feature address, highlighted the nutritional value of foods prepared. She further said that packaged foods can also showcase nutritional facts in a simple form.
She noted that, “The World Health Organization has endorsed the traffic light system of labelling foods which is a simple code that allows the average consumer with the little time and the least education to be fully equipped and to understand which foods are high in salt and which foods are high in sugar.”
The traffic light system introduced by the Food Standards Agency, is based on recommendations for the nutrition of adults and does not apply to foods designed for infants and children under three.
The traffic light food labelling system gives an individual independent expert scientific dietary advice which would help them to make healthier choices. A person would look for products with green, amber or red coloured labels on the front of the pack. These show at a glance if the food item being purchased has low, medium or high amounts of fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt.
By extension, Dr. Boyle said that restaurants can practice similar methods. “We are also moving to the point where we are going to have food industries and restaurants be able to demonstrate what are the caloric values of the menus they have. People must be able to look at the menu… and ask how much sugar or how much calories am I going to be taking in from the particular menu as against maybe another one.” The DCMO explained.
Dr. Boyle further explained that society has now become dependent on ‘fast food’ and most times meals do not contain the required nutrients and calories to be considered a balanced diet.
“Please note I am not saying that we should not consume these foods and these drinks. I’m not saying that, what I am saying though is that as consumers we need to be savvy we need to know what we are using and use them with moderation.”
Food handlers and other operatives in the food industry were also exposed to presentations from representatives of the GA-FDD and the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) at the workshop and were informed of the need for a safe and healthy food environment and the importance of observing safe food handling practices.
By: Delicia Haynes