The Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) is reviewing the packaging requirements for commodities such as flour and rice.
Director of the Standards Division at the BSJ, Julia Bonner Douette, says the objective is to ensure that all heavily consumed food items have packaging standards similar to sugar.
The Bureau is deliberating the technicalities for implementation of the standards.
In an interview with JIS News, Bonner Douette said once the Bureau of Standards develops the new standard requirements for these items they will become mandatory with the National Compliance & Regulatory Authority monitoring compliance.
Consumers will be encouraged to purchase only products that meet the packaging and labelling criteria.
Bonner Douette says proper packaging is essential in order to keep food safe and ensure accurate environmental conditions until it is consumed.
The BSJ Director says the standards should protect food against the harmful effects of air, light, insects, and rodents as well as help customers to identify the food, instruct how to use it correctly as well as inform them when it was manufactured and when it expires.
She pointed out that adequate packaging will extend the shelf life of a product, which will help significantly in preventing any waste such as leakage or deterioration that may occur during transportation and distribution.
Effective July 1, 2017, all sugar sold to the public is required to be packaged, sealed, and labelled.
In addition, all pre-packers must be registered with the National Compliance & Regulatory Authority.
The move was in keeping with the revised mandatory standards for brown cane sugar, gazetted on December 30, 2016, which outlined the requirements for labelling, packaging and safety of sugar.
The Standards Act provides for a fine of 3 million dollars and 12 months in prison for non-compliance with the labelling and packaging standards for sugar sold in the retail market.