Nigeria’s standards regulator has boosted the competence of its laboratories with additional facilities and competences aimed at monitoring and affirming the integrity of food products, chemicals and other commonly used products in the country.
On April 29th 2021, the body, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) was officially presented with Laboratory Accreditation Certificates issued by American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) to boost the body’s technical competence in the field of electrical, micronutrients and paint testing.
The laboratories accredited on the day in accordance with the recognized ISO/IEC 17025:2017-General requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories include the Cable Testing Laboratory, Micronutrients Testing Laboratory and the Paint Testing Laboratory.
Less than two months after, the Director General of SON, Farouk Salim, said the specialized laboratories are working to pave the way for food and other products that originate from Nigeria to gain global competitiveness and acceptability by measuring up to international standards.
While chronicling the milestone achieved by the organisation in the area of laboratory services, Salim said, “SON laboratories embarked on the journey of Accreditation as far back as year 2009, which led to the accreditation of Food Technology Laboratory in areas of Biological and Chemical Testing in 2014 by American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). Today, we are celebrating the accreditation of three more Laboratories at SON Laboratory Complex Ogba.”
The accreditation, he said “demonstrates technical competence for defined scopes to perform tests on Food, Paint and Electrical cables products including Chemical (Micronutrients) Testing which covers parameters such as; Iodine in Iodized Salt; Vitamin A (Retinol) in Foods; Lead Content in Paint; Non-Volatile Matter (%) in Paint; Specular Gloss (%) in Paint as well as Electrical (Cable) Testing which covers parameters such as Conductor Resistance at 20 degrees celcius, Elongations at Break for Insulation, Tensile Strength Tests for Insulations, among others.”
In addition to competences of the newly accredited laboratories, SON’s Food Technology laboratories now have competence in testing food samples in Physico-chemical parameters such a Moisture, Ash, Protein, Fat, Crude Fibre, Heavy Metals). Other areas of competence of the laboratories include Microbiology parameters (Aerobic Plate Count, Coliforms, Escherichia coli, Yeasts and Mould, Salmonella spp, Listeria monocytogenes, Stahylococcus aureus, Enterobacteriaceae).
The SON DG hopes the new state of facilities at the specialized laboratories would help promote local content by offering subsidized and quality testing services to local manufacturers and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as well as facilitate income generation through maximization of costs for local manufacturers who would not need to send produce across borders for pre-shipment testing for goods meant for export.
“Accreditation of our labs would facilitate global recognition thereby facilitating trade across the borders, enhancing and promoting global competitiveness of made in Nigeria goods through quality testing services thereby reduce the Incidence of rejection of exported goods by offering quality testing services for farm produce that are meant for exports,” Salim said.
SON currently has five principal laboratories located around the country. These include the Food Technology Laboratories, the Chemical Technology Laboratories and the Electrical/Electronic Laboratory, all located in Lekki, Lagos State.
There is also the Engineering Laboratory, located in Emene, Enugu for the purpose of carrying out engineering tests in Mechanical Engineering Tests: Tensile, impact, complete metallographic, chemical analysis of metals, tensile tests etc.
SON also has a Textile and Leather Laboratory located in Kaduna that is equipped to carry out comprehensive analysis of Textile and Leather products.