Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 28, 2019 (SKNIS): Ensuring that consumers’ health and rights are protected is of paramount importance to the St. Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards (SKNBS) and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs as they actively work together to ensure that products are properly labelled through development of regulations, says Jermine Mike, Head of Standardization/Air Quality at SKNBS.
“What is currently under development is a regulation for packaged water and we say packaged instead of bottled because water can come in many different forms. So there is a regulation coming for packaged water and there is one for pre-packaged food labeling,” said Mr. Mike. “Those are the two regulations currently being looked at. In terms of adoption of standards… we are using the regional energy building code which to energy that the building use, the labelling, the environmental management and tourism.”
Mr. Mike said that it is important for St. Kitts and Nevis to follow good regulatory practices hence the importance of developing regulations.
According to Mr. Mike, The CARICOM Regional Standards for Labelling of Pre-packaged Food serves as the regional body for prepackaged food. According to the labelling standards, items must display ingredients, the name of the product, the quantity of ingredients, instructions for usage/dosage, date and place of manufacture, and the product expiration date. Labelling of products is important to nutrition and health. Persons are becoming more health conscience; therefore, it is the SKNBS duty to ensure that packaged goods coming into the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis are properly labelled.
He noted that the Standards Act gives some power when it comes to standards.
“For example, labelling. When we are speaking of labelling, Section 34 and 35 in our Standards Act speak about the language of products that are coming into the country of St. Kitts and Nevis. The ones at the border need to understand that the regulation is there to suppress products that are coming in that do not have on English on it,” he said.
Mr. Mike said that because the labelling of products is such a contentious issue in St. Kitts and Nevis, the SKNBS will seek to host town hall meetings so that consumers and producers can better understand what is required of products with respect to labelling.
At present, Mr. Mike chairs one of the six technical committees within the SKNBS. That particular committee deals with the labelling of imports into the Federation, as well as those being produced in the country for export and the local market.