One of Barbados’s top agriculture officials is warning that the health of local consumers could be compromised due to the high consumption of imported foods.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Elsworth Reid addressed the matter Tuesday morning at the start of a two-day regional workshop on food traceability, organized by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.

Reid said consumption of imported food products left the public vulnerable to food-borne illnesses, and he also raised concern that in some instances importing countries were not notified of food recalls until months after the product had been consumed.

He added that the Caribbean also needed to address the issue of labelling of food products to allow members of the public to be aware of what they were consuming.

According to the agriculture official, if countries are to seriously consider establishing a mechanism to protect food safety, they also need to put in place a system that places standards on labelling, and on stopping importers from importing and distributing these kinds of products.