Accreditation of Labs Boosting Food Exports

Photo: Donald Delahaye Project Cycle Management Specialist, European Union Unit, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Marjorie Stair, addresses a JIS Think Tank on May 31.

Story Highlights

  • The institutional framework to drive Jamaica’s food exports is being strengthened through the accreditation of several laboratories under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
  • ISO 17025 accreditation is the formal recognition of a lab’s competence to perform specified tests.
  • The EPA agreement was signed in 2008 between the EU and 15 Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) states, and is aimed at boosting trade between Europe and the member countries.

The institutional framework to drive Jamaica’s food exports is being strengthened through the accreditation of several laboratories under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

The European Union (EU)-funded project is being managed by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).

Speaking at a JIS Think on May 31, Project Cycle Management Specialist, EU Unit, PIOJ, Marjorie Stair, said the EPA provides support in the form of staff training, laboratory equipment and upgrading of facilities.

“This will improve Jamaica’s food safety system, which will help to increase exports through direct overseas investments,” she noted.

She informed that eight labs have been upgraded under the EPA, with several already ISO 17025 accredited, while others have taken critical steps to meeting the requirements for certification.

Mrs. Stair said that through the work being undertaken “the country has gained competitive advantage on the global market and more diverse exports of agriculture and agro-processed products will now make their way to EU markets as a result of the EPA.”

ISO 17025 accreditation is the formal recognition of a lab’s competence to perform specified tests.

The Microbiology and Chemistry laboratories of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica and the Pesticide Research Laboratory of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona are ISO 17025 certified, while the Microbiology, Residue Testing, and Parasitological laboratories of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries are waiting to be accredited.

The Ministry’s Plant Virology and Molecular Testing laboratories have been upgraded, while work is underway at the Plant Pathology Laboratory.

PIOJ will be hosting a business forum on June 2 at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston to showcase the improvements in the institutional framework for food export in Jamaica and outline the successes of the EPA.

The EPA agreement was signed in 2008 between the EU and 15 Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) states, and is aimed at boosting trade between Europe and the member countries.

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