Namibia strengthens its fishery products testing potential

Namibia is a major exporter of fish and fishery products. It also has a growing aquaculture industry. The Namibian Standards Institute (NSI) has been delegated by the Ministry of Trade and Industry as the official technical inspectorate and Competent Authority for the sanitary inspection and certification of fishery products.

In November 2009, an SFP intervention reported (LTI-NAM carried out by by John R. Cox), that most samples were sent to South Africa for analysis (pesticides, PCBs, dioxins, heavy metals, etc.). Following his visit, a decision was taken to mitigate this situation and to charge the NSI with microbiological, biotoxin, heavy metals and histamine testing. Efforts are being made to obtain ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation.
In February 2010, Richard Fuchs was entrusted with a further technical assistance and training mission for the SFP. Four NSI analysts were trained in detection methods for Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio cholerae, and Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The validation of the data produced for the different tests was then examined. It was shown that the laboratory had improved its performance and that the results for the accreditation tests remained good, initially focusing attention on six main tests. In addition, following discussions with the NSI, it was agreed that an expert in laboratory design would be made available to assist the team working on the new laboratory complex in Walvis Bay. A further mission therefore followed in February 2010, concentrating on the laboratory layout. The Namibian Government has already purchased some new equipment and materials to be complemented by Module 2 of the ACP-SFP programme.