Tue | Aug 22, 2017

New packaging, labelling standards for sugar effective July 1

Published:Sunday | January 1, 2017 | 1:00 AMChristopher Serju
Karl Samuda (left), minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, discusses the future of the sugar industry with, from left, George Callaghan, CEO of the Sugar Industry Authority; Allan Rickards, chairman of the All Island Jamaica Cane Farmers Association; Phillip Henriques, chairman of the SIA and John Gayle, CEO of Sugar Company of Jamaica Holdings, at the ministry's media briefing to give an update about packaging and labelling of sugar in the retail trade on Friday.

Come July 1, 2017 all brown sugar sold in the retail trade will have to packaged and labelled in keeping with revised mandatory standards announced by Karl Samuda, minister of industry commerce, agriculture and fisheries last Friday.

The long-overdue measure, designed to address public health concerns and improve traceability, among other things, makes it compulsory for labelling information to include the following: net content; name and addresses of manufacturers, distributors, importers or vendors; instructions for use; country of origin; lot identification and date markings.

Under the new standards, which were gazetted and published on Friday, only approved entities will be allowed to buy and sell bulk sugar packaged in 50-kilogram bags, while registered entities will be allowed to re-pack the sweetener in smaller packages of five kilograms or less.

This is in keeping with the national strategy to guarantee integrity of the product and protect it from contamination. It is also anticipated that this will also serve as a disincentive for manufacturers who import sugar for use as raw material to divert it to the local trade, according to Samuda.

The revision addresses specific requirements for pre-packaged sugar, including moisture of content less than or between 0.25 or 0.5 five per cent. In addition, all producers and pre-packers are now required to put in place approved food-safety practices such as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com