The current Barbados National Standard (BNS) 5 Part 2:2004 is up for a review. As part of this process, the concerns raised by some merchants during a Barbados National Standards Institution’s (BNSI) informative session will be included in the final draft slated to be completed in 18 months.
The BNSI’s Chief Technical Officer, Fabian Scott, gave this assurance on Wednesday, during his presentation on “Specifications for Labelling of Pre-packaged Foods” in the Bagnall’s Point Gallery, Pelican Craft Centre, Princess Alice Highway, St. Michael.
He explained that standards were revised every five years to include current information that reflected changes in the market place. “We have a lot of people who are not too keen to give their comments. But, you would recognise now, that it is in your best interest, because it represents your business and it is for your protection,” Mr. Scott advised.
In outlining the pertinent points of the Standard, he advised the retailers that compliance with the BNS 5 Part 2: 2004 was mandatory and that they must also meet the February 28 deadline to place date markings on their products as stipulated by the Standard.
A properly labelled product, Mr. Scott said, must state the name of the food, the list of ingredients to protect those persons who have special dietary requirements, the name and address of the manufacturer, country of origin, lot identification, the net weight of its contents and the expiry date of the product. This information, he said, must be written in English.
The Chief Technical Officer said this information was necessary to trace the product back to its origin, if it was recalled.
During the question and answer session, concerns were raised on a range of issues, from a decrease in the number of products on supermarket shelves to a request for an extension of the February 28 deadline.
Mr. Scott has urged the merchants to write a letter to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Empowerment, Trade and Industry and Commerce for further clarification on the enforcement of the BNS 5 Part 2: 2004 Standard.