The Food Chemistry Laboratory of the Seychelles Bureau of Standards (SBS) has become the first laboratory in the country to gain accreditation for the testing of histamine in fish.
It is an accreditation that has been issued to the national standards body by the SADCAS (SADC Accreditation Services) since November 2017.
The official handover of the certificate however was held yesterday wherein SADCAS’ technical manager, Jeanne Françoise Ranorovelo, had the honour of presenting the certificate to SBS’ chief executive Andy Ally.
Mrs Ranorovelo and her colleague Paul Botes were in the country from March 26-27 in order to assess SBS’ procedures and test methods.
Henceforth they took the opportunity to hand over the histamine accreditation certificate as well as the new Schedule of Accreditation detailing all of the areas in which SBS has been accredited so far.
Thus far the SBS laboratories has been accredited in twelve areas including its physio-chemical tests in potable water and ice used for processing (in 2011), and testing of heavy metals such as lead in fish products (in 2016).
Mr Ally stated that the additional accreditation for testing histamine in fish is not only a great step further for SBS but also for the local fisheries sector which is gradually growing thanks to various Blue economy initiatives.
Histamine testing is carried out to check the levels of histamine in fish which increases if the fish is not stored at the appropriate temperature.
Though it is produced naturally in the human body, fish products that are found to have high levels of the histamine bacterial growth can pose a threat to human health.
Mervin Pompee, the senior technician in the Food Chemistry Laboratory, explained why it is important for fish — such as tuna — that are used for exports to undergo such a test.
“Our main market which is the European Union, as well as other international markets, demands a high standard in quality of fish. The EU for instance has set a regulatory limit of up to a maximum of 200 milligram of histamine per kilo in fresh fish.”
Mr Pompee also gave a brief explanation of how the laboratory operates the HPLC machine being used for histamine testing.
It is to be noted that the three laboratory technicians working in the Food Chemistry Laboratory are also now qualified technical signatories similarly to their three other colleagues in the Environmental Laboratory.