Veterinary Services Diagnostic Lab Accredited for Testing of Fish

Photo: Adrian Walker Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda (second left), hands over the accreditation certificate for the Veterinary Services Diagnostic Laboratory (VSDL) to Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Osbil Watson (third left) during a ceremony at VSDL’s offices on Old Hope Road in St. Andrew on January 31.Others (from left) are Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Donovan Stanberry; Chief Executive Officer, Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), Sharonmae Shirley; Chairman, JANAAC, Simon Roberts; and Quality Manager, VSDL, Tricia Fraser.

Story Highlights

  • The Veterinary Services Diagnostic Laboratory (VSDL) in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, has been accredited to carry out tests on fish for the export market.
  • Portfolio Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, in his remarks at the presentation of the accreditation certificate at the VSDL offices on Old Hope Road, St. Andrew, on Wednesday (January 31) said that “this… will move us ahead and enable us to expand in the area that is so crucial – our export trade”.
  • Senior Veterinary Officer, VSDL, Dr. Wintorph Marsden, said he was “very elated” with the accreditation.

The Veterinary Services Diagnostic Laboratory (VSDL) in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, has been accredited to carry out tests on fish for the export market.

The certification, from the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), is for conducting two tests for heavy metals in the biological tissues of fish and amnesic shellfish toxins in fishery products.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, in his remarks at the presentation of the accreditation certificate at the VSDL offices on Old Hope Road, St. Andrew, on Wednesday (January 31) said that “this… will move us ahead and enable us to expand in the area that is so crucial – our export trade”.

He added that the certification will enable the VSDL to provide fisheries products that are of international standards “which will create a good outlook on Jamaica and boost our foreign exchange earnings in the long run”.

Senior Veterinary Officer, VSDL, Dr. Wintorph Marsden, said he was “very elated” with the accreditation.

“It has been a long journey. It is the first time that the Veterinary Services Diagnostic Laboratory will be certified and accredited. We have never been internationally certified. We are more than excited, and we are looking forward to having more certification done,” Dr. Marsden added.

Chief Executive Officer, JANAAC, Sharonmae Shirley, said that the accreditation process was a thorough and rigorous one, and “we are fully satisfied with the (lab’s) competence”.

“The VSDL team is passionate about quality and the delivery of competent conformity assessment services to its customers,” she added.

Mrs. Shirley said that JANAAC is committed to providing its stakeholders with world-class accreditation services. She pointed out that accreditation of Jamaican products before exportation is very important for nation building.

“Accreditation is the formal attestation of a conformity assessment body’s (CAB) ability to impartially, competently and consistently meet the specific requirements of an international standard for its scope of tests. Simply put, accreditation provides confidence, the stamp of approval… . Accreditation allows you to make an informed decision when selecting a laboratory, as it demonstrates competence, impartiality and capability. Accreditation helps to underpin the credibility and performance of your goods and services,” she said.

JANAAC is the national accreditation body of Jamaica. Since its establishment in 2008, it has been carrying out its mandate of facilitating trade between Jamaica and its trading partners by enabling the country’s conformity assessment system to meet international standards and the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.

The organisation, which is an entity under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, provides accreditation services to CABs, which consist of laboratories and inspection and certification bodies.

It also provides training to personnel involved in the accreditation of CABs, which includes assessors, CAB staff, quality managers and internal auditors.

JANAAC is the only internationally recognised accreditation body in the English-speaking Caribbean.

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