Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Director of the Regulatory Division at the BSJ, Orine Henry Blair, said that a new system will be rolled out this month “where everything will be done at the ports …so it saves time and is more convenient.”
  • Mrs. Henry Blair says that once products enter the country or are found in the domestic market and are not in keeping with the requirements of the labeling standards then persons would be in breach and a number of fines or penalties can be imposed.
  • Mrs. Henry Blair tells JIS News that the Regulatory Division has been implementing initiatives as part of its continued thrust to safeguard the interests of consumers and ensure compliance by individuals and organizations that it monitors.

Importers in breach of the labeling regulations of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) will soon find it easier to pay fines associated with such breaches.

Director of the Regulatory Division at the BSJ, Orine Henry Blair, said that a new system will be rolled out this month “where everything will be done at the ports …so it saves time and is more convenient.”

Mrs. Henry Blair explains that for importers, who bring in containers, that are found to be in breach with the labeling requirements, that is, the country of origin, the distributor or importer is not on the product,  “instead of detaining these containers as we normally do, we will now enter into an agreement, which allows the importers to use a crack and peel sticker label to provide the information and give them time to dialogue with their international suppliers in order to bring the product into compliance eventually.”

“When we enter into an agreement with them (importers) they have to pay a fee and so normally they would have to leave the ports to come to the BSJ to transact all of that,” she says, noting that they will soon be able to conduct such transaction at the ports.

She points out that “even though they (importers) are being fined or found to have been in breach, it makes them happy because time is money for business people and this new system will allow them to conduct business much faster.”

Mrs. Henry Blair says that once products enter the country or are found in the domestic market and are not in keeping with the requirements of the labeling standards then persons would be in breach and a number of fines or penalties can be imposed.

“We want (consumers) to be able to make informed choices about what to purchase, how to store a particular product, if there are some concerns for children, if it is poisonous, if it is something that should be stored in a particular area in the home or locked away from children and so the labeling is extremely important,” she outlines.

Mrs. Henry Blair tells JIS News that the Regulatory Division has been implementing initiatives as part of its continued thrust to safeguard the interests of consumers and ensure compliance by individuals and organizations that it monitors.

The division’s work is undertaken through three departments: Food Inspectorate, which monitors all food processing establishments; Legal Metrology, charged with ensuring equity in trade while protecting the buyer’s interest and safeguarding the integrity of the seller; and Standard Compliance, which inspects locally manufactured and imported products, develops standards, samples products and advises customs officers, importers, traders and retailers on the legal requirements of the local market.

Mrs. Henry Blair informs that a categorization system has been introduced in the Food Inspectorate area, where “we are taking a risk-based approach to our inspection of food establishments and have categorized the local food establishments into A, B and C categories.”

The A category entails low-risk entities that have food safety management systems in place and would require less monitoring.  These are bigger companies that have the “necessary international systems in place and documentation for checks and balances, to ensure that at the end of the line, they have a product that is safe and credible,” she points out.

Entities in category B are medium-risk factories, which require some amount of inspection, while the C category includes the high-risk entities, which require high level monitoring and inspection.

According to Mrs. Henry Blair, the risk-based approach enables the division to focus on the entities that are high-risk as it relates to the products that they make, and the types of persons, who consume those products.

She notes for example that companies that produce bag juice, which is consumed by a lot of children, would be high risk, “so we would tend to pay a lot more attention to them.”