With much of its 2020 work curtailed due to restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Guyana Food and Drug Analyst’s Department (GA-FDD) is looking to start for 2021 when it begins exploration and licensing manufacturers. throughout the country.
Under the Ministry of Health’s clarification, the GA-FDD is responsible for addressing safety and trade-related issues for food, drugs, cosmetics and medical devices, ensuring that items are safe and secure. passing quality checks to enter regional and international markets.
The department is responsible for overseeing such products manufactured in Guyana, as well as those imported into the country. Manufacturers and importers are required to be registered with the GA-FDD in order to obtain a license to operate; they are required to renew the license annually.
However, as with many organizations when Guyana’s COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020, measures implemented to curb the spread of the virus affected the department’s ability to carry out its functions.
“We were restricted last year due to movement restrictions, but now with the imminent arrival of the vaccine we planned our inspection activities. It affected the inspection and training aspects of the FDD. We were not able to go out and do many audits, such as certification of food storage bonds or manufacturing entities. So most of those licenses last year have been transferred to this year, ”explained Marlan Cole, Director of GA-FDD.
He added: “However, we would embark on an aggressive inspection and certification exercise to ensure that we complete our quota for the year, as some exporting countries require updated documentation. If you can’t do physical exams, they tell us that it can also be done. “
Cole noted that despite the limitations of the department brought about by COVID-19, the pandemic had brought the need for the department to be even more vigilant in some respects.
“Although we were not frontline workers, we were doing work that was critical and critical and very significant; we still had much to do in relation to coronavirus. The department was, for the most part, limited in our work; however, we had to increase before insulating consumers against sub-standard face masks and detergents, cleaning agents and illegal imports of rapid testing kits, ”Cole noted.
One of the advised measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus was the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers with an alcohol content of 60 percent or more, creating immediate huge demand for these products.
There was also a similar, huge demand for face masks, Lysol products and other antibacterial cleaning agents. Cole shared that the department had a vital role to play during the pandemic in ensuring that sanitary and other imported and manufactured products met the standards they were advertising.
“Coronavirus has allowed the department to be responsive. The hand sanitizer and alcohol-based sanitation agents had to be certified, tested and approved by the department, ”he explained.
“We had several coming out, Foam, a hygienist from Sterling and Environ, an alcohol-based detergent from DDL that had to be approved by the department and all the incoming imports had to do with agents sanitation and cleaning should be the subject of supervision. In addition, the face masks, we had to determine and ensure that those labeled as N95 were in fact N95, which would have been categorized as medical devices, ”he further contacted.