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The Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) is encouraging food certification bodies to get accredited under its new accreditation scheme – the United States Food and Drug Administration Accredited Third-Party Certification Programme (FDA TPP).
This will facilitate market access for regional manufacturers, especially small and medium-sized entities producing food for export to the United States (US).
The new scheme follows JANAAC being recognised as an accreditation body by the US FDA under the Accredited Third-Party Certification Programme, which enables the Agency to accredit food certification bodies to conduct FDA audits and certify food facilities.
Chief Executive Officer of JANAAC, Sharonmae Shirley, noted: “JANAAC’s accreditation of certification bodies to the US FDA TPP creates tremendous game-changing opportunities for regional manufacturers to penetrate global markets in which voluntary and mandatory technical regulations and standards are introduced by countries to safeguard consumers.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, underscored that while the Ministry is working to create the best environment to increase exports, businesses also need to fine-tune their operations to give themselves the best chance in the very competitive international marketplace.
“Accreditation is a critical part of the equation, as it brings with it the assurance that products and processes meet prevailing international industry standards and best practices,” he said.
Senator Hill was speaking at the JANAAC FDA Recognition Ceremony, held recently.
According to World Integrated Trade Solution statistics, in 2020 the US imported food and vegetables valued at more than US$50 billion from the Caribbean and Latin America. However, some of the imported foods are on the FDA Food Traceability List, to prevent or minimise outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. To keep consumers safe, the FDA may request certification from manufacturers before the products enter the US.
Once accredited, certification bodies across the region will issue certificates to manufacturers of food for animal and human consumption. Certification bodies accredited under this scheme will also be responsible for reporting to the FDA when conditions at food facilities pose a health risk and are in breach of the FDA food safety requirements.
Certificates received from JANAAC accredited certification bodies can be used for expedited entry of food products into the US once deemed eligible to participate in the Voluntary Qualified Importer Programme (VQIP).
The FDA TPP accreditation will assure importers and consumers in the US that foods imported from regional manufacturers are of good quality and are free from foodborne pathogens that can lead to illness as they were produced in facilities that meet established quality requirements.
JANAAC is one of four FDA-recognised accreditation bodies and the only accreditation body with the approval to accredit certification bodies for 10 of the 11 possible scopes in the programme.
These include Acidified Foods (AFs), Dietary Supplements, Juice Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (Juice HACCP), Low-Acid Canned Foods (LACF), Medicated Feed Current Good Manufacturing Practices (Medicated Feed CGMPs), Preventive Controls for Animal Food (PCAF), Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCHF), Produce Safety, Seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (Seafood HACCP) and Shell Eggs.
The agency is the only recognised accreditation body whose scope of authority includes Medicated Feed CGMPs and Shell Eggs. No accreditation body is yet recognised with the authority to accredit certification bodies with the ability to conduct safety audits for Infant Formula.
JANAAC is the only internationally recognised accreditation body in the English-speaking Caribbean and is a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) and the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC) Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA).
The JANAAC also delivers world-class accreditation services to conformity assessment bodies (CABs) such as laboratories, inspection bodies and certification bodies clients in 10 CARICOM states. The agency also provides technical training for assessors and personnel within the conformity assessment system.