KINGSTON — Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Reginald Budhan, is urging operators of private sector laboratories, particularly those engaged in food testing, to get their facilities accredited.
Mr. Budhan said that laboratories need to be accredited by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), in order to safeguard Jamaica’s ability to export into the markets of large developed countries, like the United States.
Speaking at the presentation of accreditation certification to Environmental Solutions Limited (ESL), at a luncheon hosted by JANAAC at the Mona Visitors Lodge and Conference Centre, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, on Thursday (December 8), Mr. Budhan said that Jamaica’s ability to export rests on the laboratories’ competence in providing quality accreditation services for exporters.
“It is up on your shoulders and your backs that the ability of Jamaica to be able to export is going to rest. I know that many of you are in organizations that are now going through the accreditation process, yourselves, and I want to implore you to accelerate that,” the permanent secretary said.
Mr. Budhan said that if the labs fail to develop the necessary expertise, the government will have to do it, but would prefer that the private sector take on the responsibility.
“If, for any reason, you fall down, then we (will) pick up. We want you, therefore, to understand the very central and important role you play in exports,… at this time, and for you to work hard to get your respective laboratories accredited,” he added.
The Ministry’s efforts to get local laboratories accredited follow the US passage into law of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which contains an accreditation component.
Speaking at the luncheon, JANAAC's Chief Executive Officer, Marguerite Domville, said that, based on “international experience”, it takes between six months and two years to complete the accreditation process
"It’s not a quick and easy process…the sooner you start, the better. So I invite you all to consider, especially the persons in food testing areas, to speed it up and bring in your applications, because the law is upon us,” she said.
She also noted that the component for accreditation in the US law will be implemented by January 2013, “so we don’t have a lot of time”.
"The sooner the food testing labs start (the accreditation process), the better,” Mrs. Domville said.
Environmental Solutions Limited’s Quality and Environmental Health Laboratory is the second facility to be accredited by JANAAC, since it started operations in 2008. The Analytical Services Department of the Scientific Research Council (SRC) was the first.
By Douglas Mcintosh, JIS Reporter