Private and public laboratories, inspection and certification bodies are being encouraged to improve their service delivery and marketability by utilising the accreditation services of the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC).
This call comes from Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, who notes that inspectors and testing laboratories “must demonstrate consistent adherence to international standards, thereby confirming the competence of their services”.
“This confirmation of competence can only be achieved through accreditation by JANAAC, which is one of my Ministry’s agencies that continues to cement its global competence and commitment to excellence,” he said, while addressing a virtual World Accreditation Day Commemorative Ceremony, on Tuesday (June 9).
Highlighting the theme for World Accreditation Day 2020, ‘Accreditation: Improving Food Safety’, the Minister noted that it focuses on how accreditation improves food security, supporting the confidence of consumers, suppliers, purchasers, regulators and private/public entities that require the use of accredited testing and laboratory services in the quality and safety of food.
“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that 33 million years of healthy lives are lost globally each year due to eating unsafe food. It is important, therefore, that the market has assurance that conformity assessment bodies operate to acceptable standards, and this is the purpose of accreditation. The accreditation process determines, in the public interest, the technical competence and integrity of organisations,” he said.
Mr. Shaw emphasised that consumers have the right to expect that both locally produced and imported foods are safe, adding that in this context, the development of international food safety standards for industry, testing, inspection and certification has become more important than ever before.
“Accreditation plays an important role in food safety, by ensuring competent and impartial inspection, certification and testing services in all parts of local, national and international food chains. In doing so, it supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular, the Good Health and Well-being Goal (SDG 3),” he noted.
The Minister reminded that food safety relies on all players involved in the supply of food, from farmers and producers to retailers and caterers, stressing that agriculture and food producers must adopt good practices to ensure that food is safe and that businesses must be vigilant to safeguard the quality of food to local or global consumers.
“As we seek to transform and modernise business processes, it is absolutely important that we have internationally accepted and accredited systems that enable and promote investor confidence, facilitate trade and engender consumer protection and confidence,” he said.
The ceremony, which was hosted by JANAAC, also featured a panel discussion that was moderated by State Minister in the Ministry, Hon. Floyd Green.
The panellists, who explored how local entities can become accredited and improve their operations in the food industry, included Director, Trade, Investment and Innovation, United Nations (UN), Bernardo Calzadilla-Sarmiento; Chair, International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), Etty Feller; and Chief Executive Officer, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), Deryck Omar.
World Accreditation Day is a global initiative that is jointly established by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the ILAC to raise awareness of the importance of accreditation, which determines the technical competence, integrity and impartiality of organisations providing conformity assessment services such as testing, calibration, certification and inspection based on international standards.