The Food Research Institute (FRI) has been certified to carry out analytical and quality tests on industrial and manufactured food products.
The certification will enable the FRI to carry out 11 microbiological and four chemical laboratory methods in food analysis and quality tests, making it the first food testing laboratory to be granted that accreditation in West Africa.
The FRI is one of the 13 scientific and technological institutes under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and was in May this year accredited by the ISO 17025 by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS).
ISO 17025 is set by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the International Electro-Technical Commission (IEC) to define the global requirements for testing and calibration laboratories.
The accreditation means that manufacturers, importers, agricultural and industrial businesses, the health and educational sectors, among other sectors, can enhance their activities by receiving certification on the quality of goods produced that will be recognised internationally.
The Director General of the CSIR, Prof. Emmanuel Owusu-Bennoah, who announced the certification, listed some of the microbiological and chemical methods approved to be tested at FRI as the enumeration of yeasts, moulds, and E.coli, as well as the detection of salmonella, moisture and protein as a total nitrogen in foods and feeds.
He said the re-establishment of the CSIR by Act 521 in 1996, after it was first established in 1968, refocused the scope of its operations and activities for a more relevant council for the business and the industrial sectors of the country.
He added that with the accreditation, CSIR/FRI had been put in a position to better offer the needed services to these and other sectors, making it an effective player in national development.
Prof. Owusu-Bennoah stressed the importance of the accreditation to all stakeholders in the food industry, exporters, importers and manufacturers, saying that it was going to help with “analytical results” and “documented acceptable proof that products put on local and international markets are of acceptable quality and meet various standards”.
He also expressed his appreciation to the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) that had helped fund all activities for the accreditation.
The Chairman of Council of the CSIR, Prof. Edward Ayensu, warned that Ghana stood no chance of reaching its target of becoming a developed economy if science and technological institutions were not invested in to serve as catalysts for development.
He said governments had to put more emphasis on “repairing” science and technological institutions for them to become what they were supposed to be in the development process,
The Director of FRI, Dr Wisdom Plahar, said it was the vision of the institute to be a key player in the transformation of the food processing industry of the country while also being internationally competitive in product safety, quality and preservation.
He said apart from technology development and transfer for enhanced national food and nutrition security, and poverty reduction, FRI also rendered technical and analytical services to several food industries on regular basis.
Dr Plahar said the regular provision of such services had helped industries to monitor the quality of their products consistently.
DAILY GRAPHIC, JANUARY 1, 2008