This follows the upgrading of laboratories of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) and the Scientific Research Council (SRC), to conduct these tests,at a cost of $20 million, through funding from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada.
The upgraded labs were officially launched during a ceremony at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday (August 27).
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said this historically significant initiative will assist the Government in its drive to reduce the high prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which he says is one of the greatest public health threats.
He noted that studies reveal that one in three Jamaicans has hypertension; one in eight is diabetic; and one in two is overweight or obese, and as a consequence, seven of every 10 deaths are linked to this NCD epidemic.
Dr. Tufton stressed that the unhealthy diet of the population is a major factor in the development of obesity, hypertension and diabetes, with the major contributor being the consumption of excess fats, sodium and sugar.
Therefore, the upgrade of the SRC and BSJ labs will provide baseline information on the concentrations of these ingredients in food products, which will enable the Government to establish evidence-based national guidelines, standards and regulations for these ingredients,to ensure that more healthy food options are available for consumption by the public.