Come July 1, it will be mandatory for pre-packaged brown and granulated sugar to be appropriately labelled.
This was announced by Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, during a press conference at his New Kingston offices on June 23.
Mr. Samuda noted that this is in keeping with the revised mandatory standards for brown cane sugar, gazetted on December 30, 2016, which outlined the requirements for labelling, packaging and food safety of sugar.
“All pre-packaged sugar available to the retail trade must now be appropriately labelled, so that if an inspector goes into a supermarket and sees sugar that is not labelled, then they will be liable for a fine and confiscation of the product,” Mr. Samuda pointed out, noting that the implementation of these standards will be done islandwide.
Importantly, appropriately labelled packages will allow for traceability of the product. Information on the label should include product name and brand name; net content; name and address of manufacturers, distributors, importers or vendors; storage conditions; country of origin; lot identification; date markings; and instructions for use.
Mr. Samuda further advised that all sugar re-packers must be registered with the National Compliance and Regulatory Authority (NCRA).
“This will now ensure that the consumer will be getting a product that is processed and packaged under hygienic conditions and free from foreign matter,” he said.
To date, the Bureau of Standards Jamaica and the NCRA have sensitised six re-packers identified islandwide. Four re-packers are now registered with the NCRA and the other two are expected to meet the requirements for registration before the end of this month.
In the meantime, Mr. Samuda advised consumers to be vigilant in protecting their rights to the high standards being implemented.
“Come July 1, do not buy inappropriately packaged and labelled sugar. If it is not consistent with the regulations as outlined, do not purchase it,” he said.
He also appealed for strict compliance with these standards, “because we are very serious about this,” and asked re-packers of sugar, members of supermarket chains, regulators of sugar, and marketing companies to “join with us in making this programme a success”.
“We are ensuring that Jamaica honours its commitment to operate in accordance with international trade and food-safety standards, while enhancing consumer protection,” Mr. Samuda said.
He further noted that the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) has been directed to exercise increased vigilance in the marketplace as it relates to packaged sugar.
In addition, the BSJ and the NCRA will continue to monitor and guide the implementation process. There will also be ongoing monitoring of the quality of the sugar being produced.