By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Shamdeo Persaud has signaled the Ministry of Health’s intention to improve the tracking, sampling and testing of foods.
Dr. Persaud was at the time registering his concern over the recent incident where several children in White Water, North West District unknowingly ate sweets that were laced with cocaine which they bought from a shop in the area.
“I am concerned that children were exposed to a high risk of narcotics that has a plethora of health complications… I am more concerned that a substance like this is available and easily accessible to children in our country, but I will like to examine all the evidence,” he told reporters.
The sweets which are alleged to have been manufactured by Edward B. Beharry & Co. Limited were later seized by the police who confirmed that it tested positive for cocaine.
The CMO said that the Food and Drugs Department of the Ministry of Health which is responsible for the quality of food produced for sale has already been informed about the situation.
“They are on the lookout, as far as we are understand the commodity was appropriately labeled, packaged and displayed for sale, so we need to investigate” he said, adding that “ I hope that an order has been issued to restrict the further sale of the sweets.”
He explained that efforts were being made to confirm the particulars of the items sold and informed that tracking the batch of sweets would be hard. It is in this regard that he noted that strengthening the sampling and testing of food was needed.
Dr. Persaud is hopeful that while the above listed actions will be taken at the level of the Health Ministry, other sanctions which require criminal proceedings will be instituted if found to be true by the Guyana Police Force.
A number of children were hospitalized after they ate the sweets. The children came down with vomiting and diarrhea and had to be treated at the Mabaruma Hospital. They were discharged and the Police are continuing their investigations.