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The Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) has taken the initiative to broaden the scope of its services and now offers accreditation for certification bodies both locally and overseas.
During a recent interview with JIS News, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sharonmae Shirley, said that they have been, year on year, expanding all services to meet the needs of target markets.
“We don’t have many accredited certification bodies in Jamaica and in the region, and so we took the decision for JANAAC to begin to offer this service and we put the necessary framework in place,” she added.
Ms. Shirley pointed out that even though work began to refine those capabilities between 2020 and 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the execution of the assessment activities.
However, the agency remained focused, and on March 9, 2023, they were able to present their first certificate of accreditation to the Certification Division of the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS) to the ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 Standard for Quality Management Systems.
“We are excited about this… . We are also very pleased to be the only accreditation body in the Caribbean and one of four accreditation bodies globally that can accredit certification bodies to the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) Accredited Third Party Certification Programme (TPP),” Ms. Shirley said.
“This achievement is something that we celebrate whenever we have the opportunity, because it provides access to our manufacturing industry to the fast-track procedures that the US FDA allows for those entities that are certified by the FDA TPP accredited certification body,” she noted.
In addition to being one of four accreditation bodies globally, JANAAC is the only accreditation body that has 10 of the 11 scopes possible under the FDA TPP.
“We have been ahead of the market in terms of providing the support that is needed by our exporters and in support of the Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill’s mandate to make sure that we can provide all that our exporters need in their quest to expand exportation in the respective markets,” Ms. Shirley said.
With the accreditation services now being extended to overseas certification bodies, JANAAC is one step closer to building out an effective national quality infrastructure for Jamaica and the rest of the CARICOM States.
The national quality infrastructure is made up of organisations such as accreditation bodies, standards bodies, metrology institutes and conformity assessment bodies that support the building of a culture of quality in Jamaica and in the region.
“We have the experience and we have the competence to support the island nations. Our markets are small, and so in terms of the number of conformity assessment bodies in the respective scopes, it would not be such a large number that it would preclude JANAAC providing this equivalent service to the other island nations, because it is very difficult to establish a national accreditation body and one that is internationally recognised,” Ms. Shirley said.
To support these regions, JANAAC has collaborated with its Caribbean partners to use its services “to build out their own national quality infrastructure, even as we’re doing the same for Jamaica” she added.