Gleaner Editors’ Forum | BSJ moving to improve quality of bottled coconut water
The Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) is adding its muscle to those trying to standardise and improve the quality of bottled coconut water being sold across the island.
Manager of the Standards Development and Certification Department at the BSJ, Karen Watson Brown, told a Gleaner Editors' Forum last Thursday that it will shortly issue an appeal for all coconut water processors who are not yet registered to do so with the entity.
"This is for the purpose of providing technical assistance under what is called the client-servicing programme. This programme is designed to work with the various stakeholders, helping them to meet the requirements and to implement the standards.
"It's a friendly, comforting, cost-free environment. We assist the clients, providing technical guidance. It usually spans any area of their business, but most importantly, the focus is on helping them to meet the requirements of the standard," said Watson Brown.
She noted that the bottled coconut water industry has been plagued with challenges, which is why the BSJ is trying to assist business operators to overcome these problems.
"It is true to say that some of these products do not have a long enough shelf life. In fact, sometimes microorganisms are found in the product, so there are those kinds of challenges that exist," said Watson Brown.
Coconut water is highly perishable, and the bureau is cautioning persons that it is a difficult product to process.
"A lot of people are looking for ways to make a living, and they have some coconut trees around and they say, 'Let's go into the coconut water industry', so they are just thinking about getting some bottles and putting the water in. They are not really thinking about the processing aspect," executive director of the BSJ, Stephen Wedderburn, told the forum.
"I would say to them, check with the BSJ or NCRA (National Compliance and Regulatory Authority) and also the Scientific Research Council. Any one of these agencies would be able to guide you."