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Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Michael Stern, has called on operators of local laboratories to get their facilities accredited to international standards.
He was speaking at the culmination of a three-day accreditation training seminar, which was convened by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), yesterday (March 26), at the Medallion Hall Hotel in Kingston.
The State Minister said that none of the island’s 65 medical laboratories has international accreditation and only one of the 17 non-medical facilities, the Bureau of Standards Mass Lab, possesses such certification.
Urging operators to position their organisations to achieve “the seal of quality,” Mr. Stern acknowledged that while accreditation was a voluntary process, there was prudency in pursuing this path.
“We can only hope that you see accreditation as a golden international marketing and growth opportunity for your business, because it’s a great business opportunity,” he stated.
According to the State Minister, “accreditation is fast becoming the catalyst on which a service or product will be able to enter some of our most important export markets,” citing legislation introduced by the United States of America regarding the testing of children’s products. The law seeks to protect American children from poisonous products, and requires rigorous testing of items, including toys, by accredited labs.
“The global market has created a lot more players, which expose consumers to greater health and safety risks, and any responsible Government will move to minimize those threats, which is what the US did in 2008, when it introduced this legislation,” Mr. Stern stated.
He noted that there was a lot more to do to get laboratories accredited, but said he was heartened by JANAAC’s approach to what is really a huge task.
JANAAC is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Investment, with responsibility for accrediting laboratories, and inspection and certification bodies.

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