Importers and local manufacturers have until February 28 to place date markings on their products making them compliant with the Barbados National Standard (BNS), Compulsory Labelling Standards and the Standards Act, 2006-5.

Advising them that “this provision is for date markings only”, Director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Terry Bascombe, added: “During this period, importers will be allowed to affix stickers to the products to convert the date markings to the required format in the standard.  However, the department must be notified of all products to be modified.”

Mr. Bascombe noted that “over time, several items imported into the country have been carrying date marking using the Julian Code.  Importers, in an effort to make these items compliant with the standards, have been seeking permission from the department, to affix stickers to the labels to convert them to the requirements in the standards.”

The Director said the BNS 5: Part 2: 2004, Labelling of Prepackaged Food mandates that the following date marking requirements shall apply, as appropriate; the “date of minimum durability” shall be declared; the “date of manufacture” shall be declared for all manufactured foods; the “date of packaging” shall be declared for all packaged foods which are not the product of a manufacturing operation; the “use-by-date” shall  be declared where the safety and/or quality of the food cannot be assured beyond a specified period.           

These dates, Mr. Bascombe said, shall consist at least of the day and the month for products produced for consumption within a period of not more than three months; the month and the year for products produced for consumption within a period longer than three months.  In each case, the month must be declared using the first three letters of the word and if the year is declared, the complete four-digit representation shall be used.

The Standards Act, 2006-5 Section 17(2) states: “No person shall label commodities contrary to the labelling required by the relevant Barbados National Standard.”

Section (18) states: “No person shall sell, import or advertise any prepackaged product unless the product has applied to it a label conforming to the relevant Barbados National Standard.”

Section 31(1) of the Act states that “A person who produces, imports, sells or exports a commodity that does not conform to a compulsory standard; or contravenes Section 17 (2) or 18 is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $50 000 or to imprisonment for a term of three years or both.”

The department wishes to advise all importers and local manufacturers that all products imported or manufactured in Barbados after February 28, 2009 must comply fully with the Barbados National Standard, Labelling Standards. 

Mr. Bascombe warned: “Failure to comply shall result in the products being confiscated and/or denied entry into the country.”

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