Statement by Minister of Agriculture on World Food Safety Day 2021

Residents of Antigua and Barbuda,

Civilisation, as we know and enjoy today, could not have evolved, nor can it survive, without safe and healthy food. More so, our development and endurance throughout the ages, even as we exist today, and as we journey onwards, critically depend on safe and healthy food. That’s why every year, on 7th June, we observe, reflect, and celebrate ”World Food Safety Day”.

This year’s theme, ”Safe Food Today for A Healthy Tomorrow,” draws our attention to and inspires us to think and take proactive measures to prevent, detect, and manage foodborne risks and threats to food security and the well-being of our population.

It also speaks to our health, particularly during these times, where we truly grasp that safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. But, unfortunately, unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of diseases and malnutrition, particularly affecting our most vulnerable: infants, young children, the elderly and the sick. That’s why it’s absolutely vital that we all dutifully observe and follow recommended sanitary, phytosanitary, and hygiene standards and other guidelines provided.

Against this backdrop, the theme also calls us all to act NOW to create a sustainable future. Whether in our backyard gardens or on our nation’s largest farms, we each have a role to play to ensure that the food we eat is safe and does not harm our health.

Safe food is essential to promote consumers’ health, ending hunger, and guarantee economic prosperity, agricultural diversity, and sustainable development. These form part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in which the Government integrates into every decision and measures taken.

In this vein, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and by extension, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda first and foremost, commits to ensuring safe and nutritious food for all. We are also committed to and actively strengthening our policies to assist farmers, agri-processers and other produces to adopt good practices and operate in an environment and culture geared towards guaranteeing safe and healthy food. Also, this year, we hope to embark on an educational campaign to bring further public awareness to making the right choices in the selection of food. Lastly, we aim to work together with all stakeholders and international partners to make enhanced food safety and health a viable reality in our twin-island state.

Therefore, remember that ”Safe Food Now for A Healthy Tomorrow” involves everybody in the food chain. In other words, food safety ah ebry baddy business. So let us now commit ourselves to raise the standards and to raise them boldly as we enter a post-pandemic world where our health is our wealth, and our food safety must be our reality.

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