Rainforest Seafoods Limited’s Microbiology Laboratory has been accredited to conduct food testing services at an international standard.
The lab, which was established in 2019, has been accredited to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 17025: 2017 Standard, which affirms the entity’s technical competence and reliability in carrying out food testing.
This will allow Rainforest to provide additional technical support for its manufacturing operations in fulfilling local and international demand and facilitate their entry into emerging and foreign markets through increased capacity.
The entity was officially awarded its designation by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), during a virtual ceremony on Thursday (September 2).
In his remarks, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Audley Shaw, said the Rainforest’s accreditation is a strong indicator of the entity’s commitment to building its global competitiveness and providing quality assurance to consumers in the domestic and global markets.
“What Rainforest has done, in the middle of this [coronavirus (COVID-19)] pandemic, [is] you have lifted your standards to a global platform, and I really am inspired by this; [and] it must be a source of inspiration for other companies in Jamaica to follow suit,” he said.
Mr. Shaw noted that the accreditation of laboratories within the manufacturing sector opens the door for more producers to access global markets and effectively navigate technical barriers to trade.
This, he pointed out, was achieved through conformance to international requirements for competence, consistency, and impartiality in the provision of goods and services.
“The sustainability, innovation, and international comparability of our nation’s main productive sectors, such as manufacturing, will be a key contributor for advancing our efforts to recover stronger in a post-COVID-19 pandemic era. The vulnerabilities brought to the fore by the pandemic have also shone a spotlight on the importance of building global trust in our trading relations,” the Minister said.
Mr. Shaw encouraged other manufacturers and exporters to become accredited or use accredited services, “as we work together to build a sustainable and internationally competitive manufacturing sector that will position our nation on a path to economic prosperity”.
For her part, JANAAC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sharonmae Shirley, noted that the laboratory is the first Jamaican conformity assessment body to complete the accreditation process in record time of just under five months.
She informed that the accreditation process started in February 2021 and was completed in June 2021, with the lab being approved for accreditation having demonstrated conformance with established requirements for the operation of such a facility.
In response, Rainforest General Manager, Jerome Miles, said he was particularly proud that the company was able to achieve accreditation 30 months after breaking ground for the laboratory.
“This laboratory is part of Rainforest’s commitment… to provide the highest quality products to our customers. It is also a key tool in our export thrust,” he said.
Mr. Miles maintained that “with this certification, we are expecting to be able to use our analytical results to acquire health certificates from the Veterinary Services Division, which is a document we have to get when we are exporting”.
He added that “this will save us significant time and money and help to drive our export thrust”.
State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. the Hon. Norman Dunn; Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Orville Palmer; President of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), John Mahfood; and Chairman of the JANAAC Council, Simon Roberts, also brought greetings during the event.
Rainforest Seafoods Limited, which is the largest supplier of fish and seafood products in Jamaica, boasts two large processing and distribution centres in Kingston and Montego Bay, which are Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and European Union (EU)-approved.
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