To observe World Standards Day, the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) hosted a free Food Safety Training for twenty-four (24) small business owners. The training was conducted by Technical Officers of the Business Development Department, at the GNBS Head office, Sophia Exhibition site, Georgetown.
World Standards Day, which is being observed under the theme “Standards for SDGS – our vision for a better world.” is the focus of National Quality Week activities. Goals One, Two, Three and Six of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) address Poverty Reduction, Zero Hunger, Good health and wellbeing and Clean water and sanitation, respectively; all of which are achievable if food safety practices are implemented.
The Food safety training was offered to small agro-processors and vendors that handle, prepare and provide food products for sale. It highlighted some of the basic food safety requirements that ensure the end products are safe for human consumption. In addition, tips were shared on what materials to avoid in the kitchen and the importance of resisting the urge to reuse food stored for long hours.
“The GNBS believes in making quality and safety accessible to all and by offering this training free of cost, we are achieving the aim,” Technical Officer at the GNBS, Breana Wilson said.
Participants of the training were all pleased with the experience, which they said would help them to produce food items of a higher standard.
One participant, Ms. Carolina James noted that “the training was conducted with a lot of knowledge we did not have before and since we are food vendors, we are interested in the way to upkeeping standards in conducting our daily work.”
Mr. Kiven Pierre, another food vendor said, “one thing that was particularly interesting for me was learning about the bacteria and how they grow and how prevalent they can be in a food environment. I feel very good for the training as it was very informative.”
“I am excited to be here and I’ve learnt a lot. I have to give credit to the Guyana National Bureau of Standards’ presenters because they delivered with such professionalism and it caused me to be more excited about what I do and at the same time paying attention to the guidelines I need to maintain,” Ms. Nicola Smith, another participant highlighted.
According to Head of the Business Development Department, Mr. Omesh Balmacoon, the training was only opened to small-scale food producers.
A Certificate was provided to the participants which can be used to increase customer confidence in their products. However, these persons are still required to be in possession of a Food Handlers Certificate. With the expansion of their businesses, participants were also encouraged to pursue certification to local and international standards.