Columnists Features

Industry should test products to ascertain compliance to standards

THE Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) is the national standards body for Zambia enacted by an Act of Parliament Cap 416 of the Laws of Zambia whose core mandate is to formulate national standards, conduct quality assurance and calibration of measuring instruments (metrology) activities.
Our mission is to provide efficient and effective standardisation and quality assurance services to industry, regulators and consumers in order to contribute to the improvement of the quality, competitiveness and safety of products and services and to promote value addition and economic development.
Today I choose to talk about one of the services that ZABS offers, a service that is very critical to the development of our country. A service that helps industry confirm whether or not the products they are putting on the market are safe, reliable and of the right standard. A service that provides a tool for conformity assessments.
ZABS has modern laboratories for testing and analysing of products to national and international standards as well as client specifications. In fact, dear reader, we are happy to say that some of our laboratories have received accreditation from the Southern African Accreditation Service (SADCAS).
Accreditation is the formal recognition that an organisation is competent to perform specific processes, activities or tasks. The recognition is as a result of an independent and impartial evaluation by an authoritative body against nationally and internationally recognised standards.
To maintain this recognition, laboratories are re-evaluated regularly by the accreditation body to ensure their continued compliance to requirements, and to check that their standard of operation is being maintained.
ZABS laboratories, namely the general chemistry laboratory and the condoms laboratories, were accredited for the chemical analysis of elements in portable water as well as feed and moisture volatile matter in animal feed and physical testing of water leakages, pressure, lubricant quality and other parameters in latex condoms.
Some of the products tested include the following:
– Foodstuffs
-Water {for chemical and microbiological tests}
– Meat and milk products
-Beverages {for chemical and microbiological tests}
– Soaps and detergents
– Mining and exploration samples for metal content
– Environmental samples e.g soil, water, {for DDT and other persistent organic pollutants}
– Aldrin, dieldrin, chlordane and other poisonous substances in drinking water
– Crop samples for pesticide residues
– Petroleum products {lubricants, transformer oil, kerosene, diesel, petrol, biodiesel, etc.}
– Condoms and surgical gloves
– Textile and packaging materials
It is for this reason that last week, we made an appeal to manufacturers to utilise ZABS testing laboratory services to confirm that the products that they are putting on the market are safe, reliable and of the right standard.
We want to reiterate that message and say that manufacturers should prioritise the health and safety of consumers by ensuring that they adhere to set standards.
We want to call on manufacturers to make maximum use of the facilities that the government of Zambia has made available to them through ZABS for the examination and testing of commodities to which standards apply.
We are pleased to inform the public that from the beginning of the year to date, statistics indicate that 4,168 product samples have been analysed and tested for various companies to check compliance levels. In the first quarter, ZABS tested 2,016, whereas 2,152 product samples were tested in the second quarter.
Products tested include miscellaneous foodstuffs, petroleum samples, water and fruit-flavoured drinks, among others.
We are confident that if industry in general can subject their products to laboratory tests and analysis, then the country is on the right path to promoting trade not only at national level but also at international level.
Our call therefore, to industry in general, is to come forward and ensure that their products are checked for compliance to standards through laboratory testing by recognised laboratories such as ours.
The author is head – marketing and public relations
For more information,
Contact the Director
Zambia Bureau of Standards
Lechwe House, Freedom Way
P O Box 50259, Lusaka
Tel: 260-211-231385

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