Kingston, Jamaica – In an effort for more local business to reach the export-ready mark, experts are calling on Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in the food processing industry to ensure that food product labels and packages meet regulatory standards. At the Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s (JBDC) Virtual Biz Zone held recently under the theme, Maintaining Standards in the Manufacturing Process, Pauline Bailey, Technician from the Bureau of Standards Jamaica’s (BSJ) Science and Technology Division, spoke on the importance of adhering to local and international packaging standards to gaining global market access.
While presenting on the JS CRS 5:2015 – the Jamaican Standard for Pre-packaged Foods, she appealed to food processors who want to enter the United States or United Kingdom markets to get their labels correct.
A correct label according to the Technician, irrespective of the jurisdiction must “meet regulatory requirements, gives sufficient information about the product, and advertises the product.”
Similar to the JS CRS 5:2015, the packaging standards across the United States and the United Kingdom require that the product’s label be sectioned into a Principal Display Panel (PDP) and the Information Panel.
The PDP is the front panel of the label and bears the product name, logo and net quantity declaration of the product. According to the BSJ, “The name shall indicate the true nature of the food and normally be specific and not generic. A common name or usual name can be used where the name is not established in a national or regional standard.”
In the case of the US food packaging standard, the product name must be parallel to the base of the package.
The net quantity declaration must be displayed on the PDP according to local and international standards. For Jamaica, Bailey explains, “The net content shall be declared in the metric system. If the Imperial System is used to declare the net content, it shall be stated in conjunction with the metric.”
Under the JS CRS 5:2015, in conjunction with the United Kingdom and United States standards, the ingredients list must be present on the Information Panel of the product label and be listed in decreasing order of proportions by weight or volume. Class names should be written in conjunction with the scientific name. However, single ingredient products do not require an ingredients list.
The date mark, batch code, name and address statement must be included on the information panel of the label.
Bailey pointed out that, “If you label products correctly for the Jamaican market, you will realise there is hardly much you have to add for the [international] market.”
The JBDC, with the mandate to drive entrepreneurial success, maintains that export readiness is a holistic approach that includes not only perfecting the product but also ensuring that consumers are safe by adhering to the standards that regulate the export process.
The JBDC Virtual Biz Zone, a webinar for MSMEs, takes place every other Tuesday on the Zoom platform to stimulate MSMEs for success. Register for the upcoming Virtual Biz Zone Webinar, under the Craft Innovation Series at www.jbdc.net . The series will examine Modernising Traditional Jamaican Craft on August 29, 2023.
JBDC is an Agency under the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC), Jamaica’s Business Ministry.