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SBS opens new alcohol testing facility |31 December 2021

SBS opens new alcohol testing facility

Mr Ally looks on as an SBS staff explains how the equipment works

The Seychelles Bureau of Standards has opened a new gas chromatograph room at its premises in Providence for the testing of alcohol.

Equipped with a modern ‘Scion 456 FID GC’, with VERSA headspace sampler, the gas chromatograph (GC) room was officially opened yesterday morning by Seychelles Bureau of Standards (SBS) chief executive Andy Ally, in the presence of deputy chief executive Sreekala Nair, staff and representatives from the regulatory and manufacturing bodies.

The new gas chromatograph was purchased through funding made available to the government of Seychelles under the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Fund to support in the implementation of a government policy related to alcohol prevention and abuse.

Gas chromatograph is a common type of instrument used in analytical chemistry for separating and analysing compounds that can be vaporised without decomposition. Typical uses of a gas chromatograph include testing the purity of a particular substance, or separating the different components of a mixture.

The gas chromatograph facility is in line with the Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry’s aims to raise the level of product standardisation and to diversify SBS’ testing offerings. It will also assist the Public Health Authority (PHA) which is the competent authority/regulator to implement the control of the Alcoholic Drink Act, 2019, the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC) in ensuring that government collects the right excise tax levied on alcohol percentage in alcoholic beverages manufactured locally and imported, based on the Reform in ‘Excise tax’ as announced by the Minister for Finance, Economic Planning and Trade in the 2021 budget speech in the National Assembly on February 16, 2021. It will also guide manufacturers of local alcoholic beverages in determining compliance of their alcoholic beverages against established standards and/or regulations.

In his opening remarks, Mr Ally said the equipment will not only be used to determine the level of methanol in alcohol but also other parameters in alcoholic beverages, including also in essential oils, as per the required standard.

He noted that tests will be on both local and imported alcoholic beverages.

Mr Ally added that the service is for anyone one who wants to test the level of alcohol in their beverages.

He stated that the results will be shared to both the manufacturer and the regulatory bodies.

Going further, he stated that the SBS will continue to invest in equipment to ensure the high standard and quality of products entering the local or international markets.

He added that tests done so far on the ‘Scion 456 FID GC’ has been very satisfactory. The equipment which is able to analyse up to 10 different samples, needs no monitoring as compared to the previous machine which is still in service.

The installation and commissioning of the new gas chromatograph (GC) was undertaken by an engineer from Gibbs Technologies in South Africa during the month of November 2021. The gas chromatograph room also houses the new dry air nitrogen generator, a UPS, a computer and printer for the new gas chromatograph.

Naomie Laurence, principal officer from the Public Health Authority, said the new equipment will be of great assistance to the authority in regards to some test parameters which they cannot conduct at the moment.

She further said that with the new capabilities of the new equipment, the authority will be looking to amend its laws, by next year, to make it mandatory for manufacturers to test their products before they are sent to the market.

As for Mary Anne Ernesta, corporate relations manager at Seychelles Breweries Ltd, the gas chromatograph will provide a fair level playing field in terms of the correct level of alcohol advertised by the different manufacturers.

She noted that although the brewery has its own in-house standard, the company will abide by regulations to be put in place for mandatory testing of their alcoholic products.

Apart from the installation and commissioning of the equipment, the engineer also provided a three-day on-site application training for four laboratory staff of the bureau.

A series of trial tests of alcohol samples have already been carried out by the laboratory staff in order to check the performance of the equipment and techniques of testing.

SBS is the national quality infrastructure service provider in Seychelles and designated by the Public Health Authority (PHA), as the main official laboratory for the testing of alcoholic beverages.

It is now ready to offer such testing services to alcoholic beverages regulators, alcohol manufacturers and the public in general.


Patrick Joubert /Press release from Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry

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