The Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) is reminding manufacturers that they must seek permission to use the country’s national symbols to sell or market a product.
“Most manufacturers or sellers tend to use the national flag. Now when this is used, we ask that you seek permission, which is a letter from the Office of the Prime Minister to say that you have been granted permission to use this symbol on your product,” said Acting Team Leader, Packaging, Non-Metallic and Furniture Branch at the BSJ, Gurvon Spence.
He was addressing an online session hosted by the BSJ on Thursday (June 10), which focussed on the importance of proper labelling.
A label is any written, electronic, or graphic communication about the product on the packaging or on separate but associated material.
The presentations looked at general labelling requirements, as well as some specific issues that recur in submissions received from persons engaged in the retail sale.
Technician in the Packaging, Non-Metallic and Furniture Branch at the BSJ, Paulette Bailey, said that labelling is important, as it helps to advertise the product and it gives the consumer enough information to make informed choices.
“A label should also be accurate and should reflect the true nature of the product,” she pointed out.
She said that there are two parts to a label – the principal display panel and the information panel.
The principal display panel, she explained, is the part of the food label that is most likely to be displayed for sale and the section that consumers first see when they look at or approach the product. It is usually in bolder writing and is more decorative as well.
The information panel, Ms. Bailey said, is “anywhere else on the label that you are allowed to put information”.
Labelling is a critical element in products offered to consumers for purchase. There are approximately 30 Jamaican Standards specifications, which specifically address labelling.
These standards guide manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers as it relates to appropriate labelling requirements.
In Jamaica, labels must be written in English even if other languages are included. Every label must be approved by the BSJ.