The demand for fresh and packaged coconut water across the region is rapidly increasing. However, there are growing concerns about the quality of coconut water sold by retailers to CARICOM consumers. Recent independent assessments of coconut water indicate the quality and safety of coconut water may indeed be compromised, impacting on public health and trade.
CARDI is working with the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and other partners to revise and update the existing standards for coconut water quality. At a meeting hosted by CARDI and CROSQ, on 26th February, in Barbados, participants agreed that there is need to focus on food safety evaluation; recognition of testing facility compliance; chain of custody for samples; sampling regime; testing protocols, procedures and sampling; and the testing environment.
Executive Director of the Caribbean Agricultural and Research Development Institute (CARDI), Barton Clarke, said it was critical that such action is taken, if we are to attract investments to rebuild the coconut industry in the Caribbean.
Conformance to standards will satisfy consumer confidence in the products and also allow producers to penetrate the lucrative regional and international markets.