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The National Compliance and Regulatory Authority removes $9 million in substandard goods


The National Compliance and Regulatory Authority (NCRA), through the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, is working towards the promulgation of the NCRA Act in early 2022/23.

The NCRA is an agency of the ministry, which is responsible for inspecting and monitoring food-processing establishments, inspecting commodities at ports of entry and in the domestic market, and ensuring that scales and measuring devices used in trade are accurate.

Dr Lorice Edwards-Brown, chief executive officer (CEO) of the NRCA, stated that the new law will enable the agency to carry out enforcement actions on its own without reference to the BSJ (Bureau of Standards Jamaica) legislation.

The regulatory function once carried out by the BSJ has been delegated to the NCRA and compliance activities and enforcement actions are within the NCRA’S remit.

Currently, it is from the BSJ legislation that the consumer body gets its authority to conduct regulatory programmes. However, when the NCRA legislation is in place it is expected to strengthen the confidence of stakeholders in its regulatory role.

Enforcement measures

In the fiscal year ended 2021/2022, despite the pandemic, the agency carried out over 7,000 risk-based inspections through its three inspectorates: the Import and Domestic Commodities, Legal Metrology and Petroleum, and the Food Safety Inspectorate.

The government agency said that in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, it registered 79 per cent of known food processing establishments, verified over 9,000 weighing and measuring devices and removed sub-standard goods valuing approximately $9 million from the marketplace.

The NCRA said it uses a risk-based approach for conducting inspections, monitoring activities and enforcement actions for the Food Safety, Import and Domestic Commodities and Legal Metrology and Petroleum Inspectorates.


“Resources are not unlimited. The NCRA, as an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, recognises that continuous improvement is one of our strategic imperatives.

“As such, the NCRA utilises a risk -based approach to allocate its resources, integrate technology to maximise output of inspection programmes and continuous engagement of stakeholders through public education,” Dr Edwards-Brown said.”

A key activity is stakeholder engagement sessions with various sectors including consumer groups, block manufacturing sector, food processing industry and importers.

In the last year, this was done via teleconferencing and face-to-face sessions with consumers and industry regarding mandated requirements and enforcement.

“The NCRA implores the public to send messages via WhatsApp to 876-289- 6272 (NCRA) if they are aware of, or have any doubt that a packaged food item is fit for consumption or a block maker is registered or the weight or volume of a product is accurate,” Dr Edwards-Brown shared with Sunday Finance.

Consumer’s responsibility

“Consumers do not have an endless amount of cash and should check products carefully before they make purchases; the government and its regulatory agencies invite consumers to visit government websites like for credible information which may guide purchases,” the NCRA head said.

The NCRA said that it is working on several programmes, over the next five years, that will facilitate accreditation in the ISO-17020 system. ISO standards are internationally agreed quality management standards to help work more efficiently and reduce product failures.

The ISO-17020 system relates to the need by inspection bodies that assess the quality and reliability of companies’ products and services to secure a regulatory certification themselves to perform the inspection.

This comes under the ISO/IEC 17020:2012 standard, which ensures the competence of the inspection bodies and the impartiality and consistency of their inspection activities.

The international standard covers examination of materials, products, installations, plants, processes, work procedures, or services; determination of the examined services and products conformity against respective requirements; and subsequent reporting.

Source: National Compliance Regulatory Authority removes $9 million in substandard goods – Jamaica Observer