Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 11, 2022 (SKNBS): Three standards, which have been adopted by the St. Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards (SKNBS), are in the process of becoming technical regulations, which means they will no longer be voluntary, but mandatory to follow.

The three standards include Specification for Packaged Water, Labelling of Pre-Packaged Food and Labelling of goods — General requirements.

For Specification for Packaged Water, the bureau will be regulating the safety aspects within the standard. For example, businesses would have to ensure that any water that is produced within St. Kitts and Nevis would have to meet the microbial and chemical requirements as well as the labelling requirements, specifically within the labelling regulation. This is applicable to products not only made in St. Kitts and Nevis, but all packaged water. They must conform to the very minimum requirements in St. Kitts and Nevis.

In terms of Labelling of Pre-packaged Food, the bureau wants to ensure that when consumers purchase food items, they are given the right information to make informed choices. There are several requirements which are needed to be displayed on pre-packaged foods. These include, the name of the product, where it was produced, the net content, net volume, or net weight, contact information and ingredients among others. At the moment, nutritional labelling is not a national requirement, but it may be a requirement for export. Currently, the bureau does not have the resources to help its producers with nutritional labelling, but hopes to acquire them in the near future.  

When it comes to Labelling of goods — General requirements, this comprises everything including food items, toys and electronic items among other commodities. One of the requirements is that you must know where the product is coming from, that is, the country of origin. Also, the language on the product must be in English. It can be in another language, but English must be present. In addition, labels must not be deceptive. For example, when it comes to packaged water, a company may display “natural spring water” on its packaging when it is actually “purified water” or they may show “purified spring water” when it should be one or the other, not both.

If there is an infringement on the law or if the bureau finds you in contravention of the law, the bureau will bring your attention to it. However, if it continues, the bureau may seek legal action. The court will then charge the business or person. The bureau will also have the authority to fine persons that are not following the regulation.

While the timeline of when these standards to be enforced has not been set, it is important for the public, businesses and consumers alike, to familiarize themselves with them. They can be viewed or purchased by visiting the bureau’s office at La Guerite.