ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe’s Government Analyst Laboratory (GAL) has obtained the prestigious ISO/IEC 17025:2017 certification marking a crucial turning point for the nation’s agrifood industry as it propels Zimbabwe’s analytical and laboratory testing facilities to international standards.

The Government Analyst Laboratory plays a vital role in safeguarding public health by analyzing food, water, and other samples submitted for testing. Its contributions have been instrumental in combating outbreaks such as the recent cholera outbreak, which has posed a significant public health challenge in the country.

The certification handover ceremony was officiated by the Chief Director for Human Resources, Dr. Simon Nyadundu, on behalf of the Health and Child Care Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Air Commodore Dr. Jasper Chimedza.

In his address, Dr. Nyadundu emphasized the transformative impact of the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 certification since its adoption in 2019. GAL has since undergone capacity building and extensive training, enabling the laboratory to provide exceptional services to its clients.

While celebrating this momentous achievement, Dr. Chimedza acknowledged that the GAL faces the challenge of a substantial sample backlog, particularly in toxicology analysis.

The laboratory’s aging equipment has been a contributing factor to the delay. However, GAL remains steadfast in its commitment to customer-oriented services and building trust with its clients.

Recognizing the laboratory’s crucial role in ensuring food safety, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) sub-regional coordinator for Southern Africa, Dr. Patrice Talla, emphasized the importance of science-based data and ISO-accredited laboratories in supporting informed decision-making across the agrifood value chain.

Dr. Talla revealed that the European Union-funded and FAO-run SAFE Project, part of the Zimbabwe Agriculture Growth Programme (ZAGP), played a pivotal role in supporting the GAL’s ISO accreditation.

Notably, the project not only facilitated the accreditation process but also provided technical and functional capacity building for the laboratory. This support included training GAL officers in various technical areas and procuring state-of-the-art equipment to enhance the efficiency and quality of food safety tests.

Expressing his elation, Mr. Munyaradzi Musiyambiri, the Director of the Government Analyst Laboratory, conveyed his excitement about achieving international recognition through the ISO certification. He emphasized the laboratory’s broad mandate, encompassing the analysis of food samples and ensuring their safety and quality from primary production to the consumer’s plate.

With the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 certification now in place, GAL stands as a beacon of trust and reliability in the global arena. This recognition is set to bolster Zimbabwe’s agri-food systems, enhance international trade opportunities, and provide consumers with the assurance of safe and wholesome food products.

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