Gambia Standard Bureau (TGSB) held a sensitisation forum for Water Company on
their responsibility for development and publication of national standards at
their office in Fajara on September 8.
It enlightens participants on general principles of food hygiene and labeling, packaged drinking water to international standards for public consumption and for trade within and outside the country.
In his opening remarks, Papa Secka, the Director of Standard Bureau, said the Bureau was established by an Act of parliament in 2010 to look into the international standard on water and food hygiene.
The Bureau is to facilitate Standard for industries for them to have accessible opportunities.
He stated that the seminar was on their mandate to disseminate information on the international standard that should be adopted by companies to reach the international level.
Bai Dodou Jallow, Director of Standardization Division, highlighted the role of The Gambia Standards Bureau Act as was assented to by the President on 29 October 2010 and headed by a Broad of Directors.
He said its objective was to promulgate standards for Imported and Locally-produced goods, promote standardization, conformity assessment and metrology and promote industrial efficiency and development.
Its function is to conduct examination and testing of goods, processes in conformity with standards, inspect goods and certify, and specify with the “TGSB Certification Mark”.
He added that they also have powers to cancel or renew licences for the use of standard mark, establish and affiliate with international bodies like International Organisation for Standardization (ISO), International Electrotechical Commission, Standards and Metrology Institution for Islamic Countries (SMIIC), ECOWAS Standards Harmonization and CODEX Alimentarus Commission.
Hassum Jagne, in his presentation on Gambian standard on general principles of food hygiene, stated that people have the right to expect the food they eat to be safe and suitable for human consumption.
The outbreak of food borne illnesses could hamper trade and tourism and lead to loss of earnings, unemployment and litigation, therefore the required precaution is necessary and mandatory.
“There is a general principle foundation to ensure food hygiene is recommended by the government, industry and consumers.”
Miss Ngenarr Njie, in her presentation on packaging drinking water, said the standard applies to water for drinking purposes other than Natural Mineral Waters, as defined in the Revised Codex Standard.
She also highlighted on the hygiene principle on packaged bottle water, its approval and inspection of the source for waters as defined by origin under the Code of practice.
Muhammend Njie elaborated on labeling of prepackaged food adopted by CODEX standard formulated with National CODEX and SPS committee.
He added the additional mandatory as quantitative ingredients declaration, ingoing percentage significant quantities requiring declaration, Irradiated foods and Ionized and radiated treatment.
Optional labeling is left at the discretion of the producer in accordance with rules of the standard, general presentation, clarity, legibility, unambiguity and persistent language that the consumer understands.
He further stated that product label is the way to communicate to consumers, thus providing information on the product label should give factual information and distinguish the product from that of its competitors.