Haitian businesses learn space-age innovation to improve food handling

Attendees work on a group exercise on food safety management.
Attendees work on a group exercise on food safety management.

When they signed up for an intensive two-day training on food handling and processing, Haitian business operators didn’t know they were about to learn an innovation developed by the U.S. space program.

No, it wasn’t rocket science or how to become an astronaut. It was something very much down to earth; the science behind foodborne pathogens and, importantly, how to prevent contamination when handling meat, seafood, produce and other food products.

Researchers at Feed the Future Haiti Appui à la Recherche et au Développement Agricole (AREA) trained 57 professionals from Haitian food businesses and other enterprises on the best practices to strengthen the health of the food system of Haiti, a country that suffers from chronic food insecurity.

Specifically, the attendees packed into a Port-au-Prince-area hotel over two days in late February to learn the critical role a system known as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plays in ensuring the safety of food and beverages sold to consumers. HACCP (pronounced HAY-sip) was developed in the early years of the space program by the Pillsbury Co. under contract with NASA, which considers this innovation among the most important technologies the space program transferred to the commercial sector.

Kassandra Bonnet, a food engineer and recent graduate of an agricultural college in Mexico, was chosen by her group to present a HACCP plan.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, NASA needed a system to make sure the food they were sending into space would not sicken astronauts. Today, HACCP is the behind-the-scenes food safety management system that impacts the lives of consumers worldwide. With few exceptions, the United States and the European Union — among other countries — require business operators at all levels of the food chain to comply with the rules based on HACCP principles, said Lemâne Delva, AREA’s director of research who co-led the training sessions and serves as a professor at State University of Haiti’s Faculty of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine (FAMV).

“One of the key goals of this training was to strengthen the export opportunities for Haitian food processors,” Delva said.

During the workshop, Delva and Antonio Antoine, a postharvest and food safety expert on the AREA project, explained HACCP guidelines, which businesses follow to identify and prevent biological, physical and chemical hazards throughout the food chain: from the harvesting of crops and the handling of meat and seafood products to packaging and selling.

HACCP was a new concept for many of the owners and employees of Haitian agricultural and food processing companies who attended the event.

Marie Margueritte Nicole Marcelin of REBO.
Marie Margueritte Nicole Marcelin says the training on the food safety management system will help improve her company’s operations.

“I have learned a lot from the training,” said Marie Margueritte Nicole Marcelin, one of two representatives attending from REBO S.A., a Port-au-Prince-based coffee roaster and coffee shop, and its subsidiary, Produit des Iles S.A. “I want to ensure to apply all of the knowledge acquired during these two days.”

Marcelin and the other attendees participated in a variety of group exercises, including one to begin the development of their own HACCP plans, all with the goal to help them to improve their business operations and uncover opportunities to sell more.

In addition to Marcelin’s company, several enterprises sent multiple people to the event, including two companies that specialize in exporting mangoes, Golden Crown Produce and Carifresh S.A., and a startup, Groupe d’appui à la Production Locale (GAPL), which was founded by two former college students of Delva’s to processes breadfruit into a flour that can be used to make food aimed at children.

Frednaud Charlotin, a founder and technical director, said GAPL plans to increase production of the breadfruit flour at its factory. The training will help them develop a HACCP plan to address food safety issues. By the way, some experts have called high-protein breadfruit a “wonder food,” and researchers in Hawaii have even created a Breadfruit Institute dedicated to promoting the conservation, study and use of breadfruit for food and reforestation in the Caribbean and the tropics.

Others at the training came from the nonprofit sector, such as the Movement of Haitian Women for Rural Development (MOFHADER), a group that cultivates fruits and vegetables and process fruit jams, and the Association des Paysans de Vallue, an organization that aims to improve lives and increase the business opportunities for farmers in a mountainous region southeast of Haiti’s capital.

Emmanuel Paul, a founder Groupe d'appui à la Production Locale (GAPL), Lemâne Delva, AREA director of research, Frednaud Charlotin, a founder and technical director at GAPL, and Antonio Antoine, postharvest and food safety expert at AREA, pose for a photo at a break during the training.
Emmanuel Paul, a founder Groupe d’appui à la Production Locale (GAPL), Lemâne Delva, AREA director of research, Frednaud Charlotin, founder and technical director at GAPL, and Antonio Antoine, AREA postharvest and food safety expert, pose during a break at the training. Paul and Charlotin are former students of Delva’s.

 

Did you know? AREA is a project funded by the U.S. Agency for Development and managed by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences to combat food insecurity in Haiti by helping build its agricultural research, extension and education capacity. Learn more.

 

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Posted: March 13, 2018


Category: Agribusiness, Agriculture, Professional Development
Tags: Appui à La Recherche Et Au Développement Agricole (AREA), Area-project, Food Safety, HAACP, Haiti, Lemane Delva, Support To Agriculture Research Development (SARD)


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November 6, 2019

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kacamata hitam pria
October 23, 2019

Would be happy to share our HACCP plan developed in 2008. Today we have Safe Quality Foods certification for exports and it is much more comprehensive. The FSMA demands such an approach to allow importers to export to them. We are developing a slowly slowly approach to growth and try to improve annually with small manageable sustainable steps. Every tropical cyclone sets us back but we again just commence the thousand mile journey.

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October 23, 2019

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October 21, 2019

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October 20, 2019

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October 20, 2019

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October 19, 2019

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October 16, 2019

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Charles Boisseau

August 2, 2019

Hi William, I'm not sure we can help with your project. We are a small team working on targeted research and this goes outside what we have resources to do. I hope you understand and best of luck with your project! Charles Boisseau, communications manager

William A. (Dell) Branson
July 30, 2019

Hello, I am on a Agricultural Mission Team with The Torch Worship Center. We have a 35 acre mission in Deyemon Haiti. We need assistance with planting bananas and coffee with our next mission trip scheduled for August 30 - September 7. We are looking for plants and technical guidance in planting approximately 50 plants of coffee and bananas. Please help us !

Caroline Staub
June 13, 2019

Thank you, I am glad it was useful. We will be speaking to farmers soon about what they've learned so stay tuned.

CASIMIR Sandra
June 8, 2019

I find that's a good idea. Haiti could face to the weak production if each other accepts to fight like this.

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May 12, 2019

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November 17, 2018

That's interesting!

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August 27, 2018

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August 27, 2018

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July 3, 2018

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July 1, 2018

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Bredy Charlot
June 17, 2018

Thanks. I'm Bredy Charlot an agronomist who works for the ministry of agriculture in Haïti. Climate changed need specific attention in the field if agriculture . We need substancial assistance in agriculture research versus climate changes. There are so many changes in the agriculture calendar. The impact is very importante and needs specific trainings for all in this field.

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May 11, 2018

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Renita Hanna
April 24, 2018

My name is Renita Am very interested in learning more about this program and production in Haiti I would very like to get involved and learn hands and help to make Haiti stable again my heart goes out to this country that is so rich in culture and history.

Lise Bouffard
March 15, 2018

Very interesting! Bravo Haiti! et bravo Frednaud Charlotin et compagnie pour votre beau travail. D'une adepte des produits des fruits de l'arbre à pain en Jamaïque - qui sont utilisés dans le cadre d'un programme de petits déjeuners pour les enfants dans un milieu rural. Lise B.

Grant
March 14, 2018

Would be happy to share our HACCP plan developed in 2008. Today we have Safe Quality Foods certification for exports and it is much more comprehensive. The FSMA demands such an approach to allow importers to export to them. We are developing a slowly slowly approach to growth and try to improve annually with small manageable sustainable steps. Every tropical cyclone sets us back but we again just commence the thousand mile journey.

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March 9, 2018

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Claudia
December 26, 2017

Congrats Redgino, i'm so proud of you. Merry Christmas

Rudlyne
December 15, 2017

Keep going on Redjino. Your family and your country are pround of you and encourage your efforts.

France
December 15, 2017

So proud of you Djino! Proud to be Haitian! ❤️

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December 10, 2017

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