SEYCHELLES – The Seychelles Bureau of Standards (SBS) has expanded its testing scope through the opening of a new testing facility that will aid in analyzing the content of alcoholic beverages to ensure it’s in line with standards and regulations.
SBS is the national Quality Infrastructure Service provider in Seychelles and is designated by the Public Health Authority as the main official laboratory for the testing of alcoholic beverages.
The gas chromatograph (GC) room was purchased through funding made available under the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Fund, to support the implementation of a government policy on alcohol prevention and abuse.
COMESA is a regional economic community in Africa with twenty-one member states stretching from Tunisia to Eswatini.
A gas chromatograph is an instrument used in analytical chemistry for separating and analysing compounds that can be vaporized without decomposition. Its typical uses include testing the purity of a particular substance or separating the different components of a mixture.
The Chief Executive of the Seychelles Bureau of Standards (SBS) told a press conference that the new equipment will help authorities know if the content of alcoholic beverages is in line with standards and regulations.
“It will help the two regulators – the Public Health Authority that administers the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act, and SRC (Seychelles Revenue Commission) that is reforming its excise tax for alcohol. It will help them in the sense that the government will be able to properly collect tax on alcohol,” said Ally.
He added that the new testing facility will also help the manufacturers as well, who are placing alcoholic beverages on local and international markets.
“It will help us establish the percentage and quality of alcohol to know if they are in line with the standards, regulations and the label on the products. If they are not in line, concerned authorities and regulators will be able to take actions against them,” said Ally.
Under the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act, a person who makes a false declaration and labelling commits an offence and is liable for conviction. Should this be the first offence, the person faces a term of no more than two years or fined not exceeding SCR100,000 (USD 7481.85) or both. For a second or subsequent offence, the person may face imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years and a fine not exceeding SCR200,000 (USD 14963.70) or both.
The installation and commissioning of the new facility were undertaken by an engineer from Gibbs Technologies in South Africa in November. The GC room also houses the new dry air nitrogen generator, uninterrupted power supply and a computer and printer for the new GC.
Besides the installation and commissioning, the engineer also provided a three-day onsite application training to four SBS laboratory staff. A series of trial tests of alcohol samples have already been carried out to check the performance of the equipment and techniques of testing.