(Extracted from the Jamaica Observer – September 25, 2015)
THE country's food exporters are being urged to become compliant with global labelling requirements in order to increase access to international markets.
Certified Food Scientist Dr André Gordon said that roughly 10 per cent of Caribbean food products entering major markets over the past 10 years have been rejected due to improper product labelling. The markets include: the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and the European Union.
"A wide range of food items that are exported are held at ports of entry and are assessed to see whether or not they comply with the label requirements. Many of them are found to be non-compliant," he said, noting that it is likely for the figure to go up or has already begun trending upwards.
Dr Gordon, who is also the managing director of Technological Solutions Limited, was speaking at the Jamaica Promotions Corporation's (JAMPRO) Food Labelling Requirements Workshop held Tuesday at the entity's business auditorium on Trafalgar Road, St Andrew.
The one-day workshop, attended by several local business operators, was designed to inform manufacturers and exporters about the labelling requirements in major markets, thus enabling them to be more compliant with those market requirements.
The businesses in attendance included: Jamaica Broilers, Home Choice and Consolidated Bakeries Jamaica Limited, among others.
During the workshop, Dr Gordon addressed in detail the requirements for product labelling in the US, Canada, UK and the EU.
Regarding the US, Dr Gordon explained how labels destined for that market should be positioned on the product and what information should be contained on them.
For Canada, he pointed out that the country recently updated its Labelling Act and indicated how the nutritional labelling should be positioned and that allergens should be clearly identified.
The UK and EU have different considerations regarding nutrition information, the manner of allergen labelling and other product information.
"One label cannot go into multiple markets. You have to do special labels for each market," Dr Gordon said.
He added that labelling is important not only from a marketing standpoint but in terms of the specific information that is provided to consumers.