JIS News

During the 2007/08 financial year, the Scientific Research Council (SRC) increased client productivity and product quality through the continued training of persons as well as local and regional micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), in various aspects of food technology and safety, wastewater management and biotechnology.
As set out in a Ministry Paper that was tabled in the House of Representatives recently by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda, training was undertaken in key areas which benefited the sector tremendously. These were in meat processing, fruit processing, tissue culture and in good manufacturing practices as well as training for artificially flavoured drink-based formulation.
In addition to training, the SRC also provided consultancy services, technical assistance and advice to over 80 clients, including 10 new clients in various aspects of food processing. Chip manufacturing, packaging and labelling, use of preservatives and juice processing were some of the areas addressed.
The SRC also assisted clients in the drying and milling of over 7,500 kg of products for 127 internal and external clients; the processing of over 6,500 kg of jams, jellies and meat products; the implementation of HACCP food safety system, ISO 14000 and ISO 9001:2000 standards to assigned companies under the Quality Jamaica Project (QJP); and inspected 16 food processing establishments.
Technical assistance was provided to seven clients in the areas of characterization and standardization of Jamaican plants, Jamaican tubers and their medicinal properties, and training in soap-making. Information was also provided on cosmetic formulations, using castor oil as a base.
The Council continued to provide analytical services, technical assistance and consultancy/advice in chemistry and microbiology to over 30 external clients in the areas of water/wastewater and food. Over 3,900 water, wastewater and/or food samples were analyzed with over 80 per cent of requests completed on time.
In the area of biotechnology, the SRC hardened over 250 plantain and 1,200 banana plantlets for clients. Moreover, diagnostic testing was completed on sweet potato, plantain and banana for four viruses and three bacteria.
Consultancy services in wastewater treatment were provided to the following clients: Mavis Bank Coffee Factory, National Housing Development Corporation and Sherwin Williams Ltd., the Ministry Paper notes.
The SRC also provided technical assistance in natural products, including the extraction of essential oil to six clients and processed 13 new enquiries on mushroom husbandry and provided the necessary technical assistance.
Additionally, nine products were developed for clients. Prototypes were developed for potential food manufacturers and formulation documents were drafted. Shelf life and sensory evaluation studies of 16 food-based products were completed, the document adds.