Categorized | National News

Food Lab Testing To Be Strengthened -Lettuce Recall Prompts New Look

The recent recall of Romaine lettuce due to the bacteria E. Coli, has prompted the need for more resources to be pumped into ensuring that local laboratories are of first world status, to test imports to and exports from The Bahamas. 

Agriculture Minister Michael Pintard said that the ministry would ensure that there is the capacity to not only test what’s going out, but what’s coming in. 

“Bahamians are concerned about products coming from overseas as well and it’s one thing to have a stringent requirement on products that are coming in or even pets coming in,  because that is also an avenue through which diseases can be transferred cross border. 

“So, we need to strengthen our ability to do testing, Mr. Pintard said. 

He  added that farmers too are being prepared to have the ability to deal with building capacity through a series of workshops. 

“[We] are helping farmers and fishers understand that if you are going to take advantage of the international market there are a set of requirements that you have to meet prior to you having the ability to export. 

“The work for them begins from the point of cultivation, because depending on where you are exporting your products, the eventual buyer wants to know which area it came from, what kind of cultivation practices you are engaging in; so, when they do traceability they want to be able to go right back to the very field that you are bringing your products from.

“So, we are deepening our farmers understanding of what it means to participate in a global market where there are now more stringent sanitary and phytosanitary requirements,” Mr. Pintard said.

As for the recent Romaine lettuce recall and some stores reluctance to remove them from the shelves, Mr. Pintard said, “ my ministry concurs with Ministry of Health that there should be a total recall. Bear in mind persons have sought to identify the United States as the source, however that is not confirmed. 

“So, we don’t believe you should take a chance at all, it doesn’t matter where it is coming from. But we’re asking persons to remove Romaine lettuce from their shelves,” Mr. Pintard said. 

Mr. Pintard added that consumers who opt to continue consuming U.S. derived lettuce products, do so at their own risk.

He further advised to mitigate any potential exposure and illness, wash hands before handling lettuce, thoroughly clean any containers, utensils and cutting boards to be used during preparation. Wash the lettuce thoroughly over potable running water, rinse with a three or four to one ration of water to vinegar to remove any microbial presence, then again with water, keep the lettuce away from surfaces where raw food is present and place leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Consuming contaminated lettuce could lead to an illness that lasts up to a week after ingestion.

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook