Bureau removes $32 million worth of goods from market

THE Bureau of Standards’ Jamaica National Compliance & Regulatory Authority (NCRA) says it removed approximately $32 million worth of goods from the market for non-compliance in the last financial year.

The revelation was made in a response to a Jamaica Observer probe following a noticeable increase in the number of products observed on supermarket shelves with labels written in foreign languages.

Bureau of Standards regulations stipulate that every label must be approved by the entity before it is attached to products for the market.

It said that every manufacturer must ensure that his or her product is properly labelled, providing basic yet important information for consumers.

The bureau said for Jamaica, the label must be written in English, even if other languages are included, since a label is critical in assisting purchasers or users of the product to determine if they wish to buy or consume the said products.

But the Sunday Observer observed at least five products of an international brand on the shelves of several supermarkets with labels written entirely in Spanish.

The NCRA said that there has been “no changes to the regulations as it relates to product imports” when contacted by the Sunday Observer.

It said, since January, it has withdrawn 30,254 products from the market that were non-compliant with compulsory standards.

For January, NCRA said it removed a total of 6,007 products from shelves; 5,416 in February; 6,837 in March; and 11,994 in April.

NCRA said that for establishments found in breach, products are withdrawn from the shelves, and failure to comply could result in a fine.

“Failure to abide by the withdrawal may result in the matter being taken before a parish court where a fine of to $3 million may be imposed,” the NCRA said.

Additionally, the department noted that it seeks to inspect all establishments and is inviting the public to partner with the organisation by sending messages to its WhatsApp number 876-THE-NCRA or 876-289-6272, and via social media, of the location and the products that are being offered for sale in a foreign language.

This information, it said, will be investigated promptly and with the strictest confidence.

“Inspectors conduct market surveillance activities in the domestic market [and], in the last financial year, the NCRA executed enforcement action that resulted in the withdrawal of approximately $32 million worth of products from the market,” the NCRA said.

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