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The Scientific Research Council (SRC), Jamaica’s principal public sector agency responsible for fostering and coordinating scientific research, formally unveiled their Certification Mark, and ISO 9001:2000 Certification accreditation during a ceremony at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on Tuesday (Feb. 26).
The SRC’s Certification Mark is aimed at supporting the growth of industry and commerce locally, and is geared towards enhancing the competitiveness of entities in these sectors. The organization’s ISO 9001:2000 Certification of its Quality Management System encompasses the provision of scientific and technological solutions through consultancy services, technical advice, training and technology transfer for natural resource development, tissue culture, food and wastewater.
Speaking at the ceremony, Executive Director of the SRC, Dr. Audia Barnett explained that the mark would “indicate that due process and care has been taken in preparing specific goods and services.””This mark is by no means compulsory. It is not a regulatory mark. This mark will make the quality and safety of your products visible in the marketplace, thereby promoting access and enhancing competitiveness,” Dr. Barnett said.
Citing food as an example, she explained that consumers purchasing products bearing the SRC mark could rest assured that the minimum requirements, consistent with Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) stipulations, would have been met. These, she said, include the quality and composition of the ingredients, integrity of packaging, and shelf life. The environment in which preparation is undertaken is also important, she added.
“The facility or factory must be registered with the Bureau of Standards, (and) it must show evidence of employing good manufacturing practices. So we speak of sanitation, we speak of due diligence in food processing, storage, transportation, and the whole line of activities that are involved,” Dr. Barnett outlined.
Additionally, she said that the critical control points must have been identified and a system to monitor these established. “Even if it (facility) does not have a full Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system, it must identify these critical points and be able to measure them,” she stated. The HACCP is a systematic prevention approach to food safety, pharmaceutical safety, etc. that seeks to prevent physical, chemical, and biological hazards.Additionally, the SRC head said that personnel were required to have food handlers’ permits and be exposed to training relevant to the products they are producing.
“In other words, this mark is not to be taken lightly. The mark will, initially, find a place, primarily on products that have been developed by the Scientific Research Council. However, this mark, which is registered by the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), will also be made available to products that earn it. This through satisfying the Scientific Research Council that the criteria set has been met,” Dr. Barnett informed.
To this end, the SRC head said the entity’s team would be providing assistance to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, regarded as the fastest growing economic group, to enable them to become more competitive.
Regarding the SRC’s ISO certification, Dr. Barnett said this now enabled the organization to “provide our clients locally and overseas with consistent quality service.”