The Guyana National Bureau (GNBS) is currently in the process of adopting the CARICOM Regional Standard Specification for Poultry and Poultry Products as a National Standard. This standard, which will be made mandatory, will ensure that specified poultry meats, whether imported or locally produced, are meeting requirements that guarantee wholesomeness for public consumption.
Developed in 2012 under the authority of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), this relatively new poultry standard gives regulatory oversight of poultry and poultry products in the Caribbean. It is necessary to facilitate trade in this commodity among Member States of CARICOM.
The requirements of the standard provide guidance to the industry on the sustainability of poultry processing while allowing the growth and development of small and medium sized enterprises.
When adopted and implemented, the standard will also serve as a catalyst for the improvement of the quality infrastructure associated with poultry processing. In other words, aspects such as testing, certification, labelling and measurement will become integral parts of the production process.
In addition, the Veterinary Public Health Unit as the competent authority will be able to comprehensively monitor poultry meat production in Guyana according to the requirements of the standard.
Specifically, the scope of this poultry standard covers requirements for primary processed poultry consisting of carcasses, poultry parts and poultry products for human consumption. It defines and distinguishes between the market classes of poultry. The standard includes requirements for sanitation, plant hygiene, the dressing operation, grading, packaging, labelling and marketing as well as ante-mortem and post mortem inspection of poultry products sold through commercial distribution systems.
The standard does not apply to freshly killed poultry prepared for direct sale to consumers and for which conditions may be prescribed in National Regulations.
The standard is currently at the public comments stage of the standards development process which will come to an end on March 31, 2017. This stage allows stakeholders in the industry to peruse the document to develop a clear understanding of the requirements contained therein. The GNBS recently hosted a public consultation session on the standard to provide detailed information to those who participated and to garner their feedback on the requirements. Participants, who included key poultry producers in the country, were generally in agreement with the requirements and pledged to make the necessary improvements to their business operations to satisfy the requirements of the standard.
Ultimately, this standard augers will for users and the economy as a whole. With its implementation, the local poultry industry will be able to benefit and grow as produce will not only be limited to the local market but also can be sold to any member state within the CARICOM Region.
Consumers are also expected to benefit from improved quality of products through the grading scheme and education through the information outlined in the standard.