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T&T exporters facing tight US safety laws

Food fest

Andrew Sabga – Chairman of CARIB Brewery and Sector Head – Beverages of the ANSA McAL Group of Companies (left) is all smiles as he and Senator the Honourable Vasant Bharath – Minister of Trade and Industry talk with reporters at the CARIB Brewery Hospitality Suite, Champs Fleurs on Wednesday 24th July, 2013.
PHOTO: KEARRA GOPEE

 

Strict regulations in the United States Food Safety Modernisation Act should not be a deterrent to local exporters but instead be an incentive for them to improve their overall product, Andrew Sabga, chairman of Carib Brewery Ltd said yesterday. Sabga commented on the Act, which requires that exporters meet on specific standards before their products can be distributed in US market, during a news conference on the outcome of the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.

Trade Minister Vasant Bharath led a T&T delegation, including several local manufacturers at the event. Sabga said Carib Brewery had been exporting to the US, Canada and Europe for several decades and has met all standards required by those markets. “There are recent new standards that were implemented, particularly in the area of safety and security for food. We see that as another opportunity to raise our game, we don’t see it as a cost. It could actually become an excellent marketing tool which would give us an edge.

“Most of the standards have been met by us, we are actively pursuing the areas where we have fallen short and we hope to achieve those standards in the shortest possible time,” he said. Bharath said when ISO standards were introduced local businesses complied with the regulations because they wanted to continue to do business with companies who were ISO compliant.

“We understand it is the only way we can continue to participate in certain markets and we wish to do so. I don’t think it will be an issue for manufacturers who are serious and genuinely intent on, first of all, maintaining their export markets as well as those who want to grow their export markets,” he said. T&T companies at the Summer Fancy Food Show were: Angostura Ltd, Carib Brewery, KC Confectionery Ltd, Matouk International, Charles Candy, Smaks Luxury Group Ltd, Chief Brand Products and Vemco Ltd.

 

Trinidad Guardian
Published: Thursday 25th July, 2013
By: Nadaleen Singh