The Government Analyst Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD) of the Ministry of Public Health continues to work with the Customs and Trade Administration to ensure that imported commodities meet required standards, and are fit for human consumption and general use.
Some equipment/utensils used in one of the labs at the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD)
There has been the perception in some quarters that the department does not have the authority to order the refusal of any commodity at ports-of-entry, according to Director of the GA-FDD, Marlan Cole. He explained to the Government Information Agency (GINA) that there are provisions in the Customs and Trade Administration Act for a government analyst and/or inspector to make ‘on the spot’ decisions in relation to items and commodities entering the country.
“The system that we have in place is a strong documentation system in collaboration with the Customs Trade Administration because, I believe, chapter 82:01 0f the Custom Administration (Act) has provision for the government analyst to make pronouncement on products before they are accepted into the country,” Cole said.
Regulations of the Food and Drug department stipulate that the Director of the GA-FDD has the right to order any Customs Control Officer to refuse entry to any commodity. This generally happens when a commodity
Director of the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD), Ministry of Public Health, Marlan Cole
does not display requisite bearings or may seem threatening to the health and well-being of a consumer.
Cole added, “In section 22 of our Act, an Inspector (has) the right to give a report to the Director to make an informed decision relative to the importation of any food, drug, cosmetic or medical device, anything, if sold in Guyana is contrary to the Act or the regulation, the inspectors can furnish a report to the Director, then I can notify the Control Officer of Customs and furnish the importer with a copy to say we are refusing entry of ‘x’ commodity.”
This is done to protect consumers against substandard food, drugs, cosmetic or medical devices. The department also facilitates trade, partnering with customs for the issuance of licences, free sale certificates and inspections of premises where food and drugs are prepared as well as wharves where imports are docked.
The department has five laboratories; a drug testing laboratory, food chemistry laboratory, microbiology laboratory, excise laboratory and a laboratory for testing spirits and alcohol. These laboratories lend support to the business community and other quality regulatory bodies, and monitor other commodities and provide services to test water quality in cases of outbreaks.