BSJ Reviewing Packaging Standards for Flour and Rice

Photo: Dave Reid

Story Highlights

  • The Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) is reviewing the packaging requirements for commodities such as flour and rice.
  • “A good package should provide a barrier against dirt and other contaminants, thus keeping the product clean. It should protect food against physical and chemical damage, for example, the harmful effects of air, light, insects, and rodents, and it should help the customers to identify the food, instruct them how to use it correctly as well as inform them when it was manufactured and when it expires,” she said.
  • The Standards Act provides for a fine of $3 million and 12 months in prison for non-compliance with the labelling and packaging standards for sugar sold in the retail market.

The Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) is reviewing the packaging requirements for commodities such as flour and rice.

Speaking in an interview with the JIS News, Director of the Standards Division at the BSJ, Julia Bonner Douette, said the objective is to ensure that “all heavily consumed food items have similar packaging standards like sugar”.

She informed that the Bureau is “deliberating the technicalities” for implementation of the standards.

“Once the BSJ develops the new standard requirements for these items, it will become mandated through the operations of the National Compliance & Regulatory Authority (NCRA),” she said.

Consumers will be encouraged to only purchase products that meet the packaging and labelling criteria.

Mrs. Bonner Douette told JIS News that proper packaging is essential in order to keep food safe and ensure accurate environmental conditions until it is consumed.

“A good package should provide a barrier against dirt and other contaminants, thus keeping the product clean. It should protect food against physical and chemical damage, for example, the harmful effects of air, light, insects, and rodents, and it should help the customers to identify the food, instruct them how to use it correctly as well as inform them when it was manufactured and when it expires,” she said.

She pointed out, further, that adequate packaging will extend the shelf life of a product, which will help significantly in preventing any waste such as leakage or deterioration that may occur during transportation and distribution.

Effective July 1, 2017, all sugar sold to the public is required to be packaged, sealed, and labelled. In addition, all pre-packers must be registered with the NCRA.

The move is in keeping with the revised mandatory standards for brown cane sugar, gazetted on December 30, 2016, which outlined the requirements for labelling, packaging and safety of sugar.

The Standards Act provides for a fine of $3 million and 12 months in prison for non-compliance with the labelling and packaging standards for sugar sold in the retail market.

The NCRA as set up to perform testing and other functions formerly undertaken by the BSJ.

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