Jamaica desmiente los informes de contaminación de la fruta nacional conocida como "ackee"
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Karl Samuda has insisted that contrary to media reports, the country’s processed ackee is safe for consumption and there has been no case of poisoning from the product.
“These recent announcements that persons suffered food poisoning as a result of consuming ackees (and) implying that they may well have been ackees that were processed, is totally, absolutely and categorically false,” he said.
Samuda said the product is “now under stress and almost at a stage of crisis,” because of misinformation.
The minister said processors have begun to experience cancellation of orders, putting the industry under great threat.
“We cannot run risks with elements of our agriculture and industrial sectors that pose a threat to hardworking producers, who have fought for years to enter markets that are very competitive and discriminating,” he said. “We cannot afford, at this time, to lose the valuable trade and foreign exchange that flows from that trade.”
“We want to assure, both locally and internationally, that our products are safe…there is no case where anyone has been poisoned through the consumption of processed ackee, and we stand behind that,” he added.
Samuda also pointed out that the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) has a sophisticated mechanism in place, through his Ministry, and has been very vigilant in monitoring all producers of processed ackee, to avoid the risk of jeopardising the export.
He said that the Ministry has de-registered certain “renegades” within the industry, to ensure the safety of the commodity.
Samuda also explained that there have been instances where ackee has been prematurely consumed, that have led to problems.
“We continue to advise the public that ackee should not be consumed where it is not allowed to open naturally. It should not be force-ripened and then used but, in terms of the ackee that is used for canning, for local consumption and export, there is no threat whatsoever,” he said.
The Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister’s statement was supported by Medical Epidemiologist, Communicable Diseases, in the Health Promotion and Protection Branch of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Tonia Dawkins, who said that her Ministry is in the process of investigating recent cases of poisoning that have been reported.
She said that, so far, none of those poisoned have reported that they consumed canned or tinned ackees.