Sunday 19 May, 2019

JMEA, PSOJ to educate consumers on healthier lifestyles choices

Donovan Wignal (r) President of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Alliance and Richard Pandohie, Deputy President of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) (l) listen intently as Prof. the Hon. Errol Morrison (c), Professor of Biochemistry and Endocrinology explains medical research data during the JMEA/PSOJ Industry Breakfast recently.

Donovan Wignal (r) President of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Alliance and Richard Pandohie, Deputy President of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) (l) listen intently as Prof. the Hon. Errol Morrison (c), Professor of Biochemistry and Endocrinology explains medical research data during the JMEA/PSOJ Industry Breakfast recently.

The Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) have joined forces to help inform consumers on the issue of healthier lifestyle choices.

The partnership, borne out of recent calls from various sectors to propose a tax levy on sugar, healthy lifestyle initiatives as well as the development of new labelling and nutritional standards, is seeking to sustain the viability of the local food and beverage industry whilst encouraging consumers to make healthier lifestyle choices.

The proposed educational campaign seeks to inform consumers through public education, forums and health fairs on industry proposals which promote a balance between growth and the creation of a healthy nation.

The intention is also to assist with the mobilisation of ongoing initiatives by the private sector to promote healthy lifestyles and the use of international standardised food packaging labels to make healthy choices.

The initiative was announced during a recently held special Industry Breakfast attended by Government officials, industry stakeholders and health practitioners at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.

Errol Morrison a Professor of Biochemistry and Endocrinology and Co-founder and Honorary Life President of the Diabetes Association of Jamaica, who was the guest speaker at the event endorsed the initiative with his expert views on the importance of sugar in the diet and why consumers should be educated on the matter of moderation versus the imposition of a tax.

Commenting on the relevance of the partnership between the two entities, Deputy President of the JMEA Richard Pandohie said: “The major players in the food and beverage sector are members of either the JMEA or the PSOJ, or both. So, we consider it our responsibility to guide and provide representation on matters which affect such a major contributor to the economy. The involvement of the local manufacturing sector is crucial as it relates to the sustainability of thousands of jobs and the promotion of healthy lifestyle practices among Jamaicans.”

President of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ), Howard Mitchell believes the PSOJ’s role is vital. “The PSOJ, in its efforts to influence national policy issues for its members is in support of this educational initiative that will make Jamaica a better place in which to live and work. We are advocating for private sector associations, companies and individuals that produce and compete and contribute to the development of the private sector,” explained Mitchell. “This pooling of resources is a great way to help Jamaicans understand the meaning of the Nutrition Facts used on product labels, and to have this standard become mandatory, so that all Jamaicans can use the same basis of analysis when purchasing food items.”

The JMEA and the PSOJ, along with its members, remain committed to work with the Ministries of Health; Finance and Public Service and Education Youth and Information to assist with the development of future programmes and policies so as to ensure that Jamaica’s growth and health indicators head in the right direction.

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