Industry Ministry Hails Accreditation of UWI Pesticide Research Lab

Photo: JIS Photographer Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Stephen Wedderburn (2nd right), shakes hands with Director of the Pesticide Research Laboratory (PRL), University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Tara Dasgupta (left). Occasion was a ceremony at the Mona Visitor’s Lodge in St. Andrew today (Feb. 9), to celebrate the lab being awarded International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17025 accreditation to conduct tests for pesticide residue in foods. Others (from 2nd left) are: Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), Sharonmae Shirley; and Deputy Principal of UWI, Mona, Professor Ishenkumba Kahwa.

Story Highlights

  • Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Stephen Wedderburn, has hailed the accreditation of the Pesticide Research Laboratory (PRL) of the University of the West Indies (UWI)...
  • The certificate of accreditation was presented by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) in October 2015.
  • PRL Director, Professor Tara Dasgupta, recognised his team for the hard work to achieve the prestigious certification following what he described as a ‘long journey’.

Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Stephen Wedderburn, has hailed the accreditation of the Pesticide Research Laboratory (PRL) of the University of the West Indies (UWI), as critical to strengthening Jamaica’s quality infrastructure and improving service standards.

He was delivering the keynote address at a ceremony held at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge in St. Andrew today (February 9), to celebrate the lab being awarded International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17025 accreditation to conduct tests for pesticide residue in foods.

The certificate of accreditation was presented by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) in October 2015.

Mr. Wedderburn, who deputised for Portfolio Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, said regionally PRL plays an important role in the facilitation of trade, particularly as it relates to export promotion in the agricultural sector, while supporting the country’s food safety policy.

“As the only pesticide research laboratory in Jamaica, which is also utilised as a reference laboratory for the region, we are pleased that you took the initiative to obtain international accreditation, owing to the critical services provided in determining the level of pesticide residues in agricultural and environmental samples,” he said.

Results from PRL are now guaranteed to be accepted on a global basis, thus facilitating export of local as well as regional products. Mr. Wedderburn said accreditation is a critical component of a strengthened National Quality Infrastructure (NQI), is valuable to the development of a logistics-centred economy, and allows for realisation of the full benefits of the National Export Strategy.

“Simply put, we must possess internationally accredited laboratories, robust standards and conformity assessment involving testing, inspection and certification. Indeed, we can’t take Jamaica to the world or the world to Jamaica if we are not ready,” he said.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, in his greetings at the event, noted that the Ministry has also made significant investments in preparing its own labs for international certification.

Meanwhile, Deputy Principal of the UWI, Mona, Professor Ishenkumba Kahwa, said the accreditation of the PRL has enabled the institution to further contribute to the region and country’s development.

He noted that the certification will bolster regional and international trade options by providing local producers with the opportunity to improve quality, while also ensuring the maintenance of a healthy and safe agricultural food industry for the Jamaican society.

“It proves that the UWI is once again helping to steer our great nation towards the path of growth and development, placing us on par with our international neighbours,” he said.

PRL Director, Professor Tara Dasgupta, recognised his team for the hard work to achieve the prestigious certification following what he described as a ‘long journey’.

He said the process to acquire accreditation allowed PRL’s researchers to see the value of following certain protocols and the presentation of authenticated results, which have served to improve its quality assurance programme.

The laboratory received financial support for refurbishing and acquisition of equipment from the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), through the Caribbean Cooperation for Accreditation (CCCA) Scheme and the Jamaica Government, under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

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