National Standard Council introduces new standards


The Ethiopian National Standards Council (NSC) approved 1,097 standards in various sectors of the economy. At a press conference held on June 28, the Ethiopian Standards Agency (ESA) declared that out of the 1,097 standards approved, 268 are new standards, while 829 are revised versions of already existing ones. The standards were set for seven broad sectors, which are agriculture and food, textile and leather products, construction and civil engineering, chemical products, health and safety, electronics and the mechanical sector as well as the general sector. Standards for the general sector are set for measuring instruments, packing and distribution as well as hotel and tourism.
Among the products, a new standard for Injera (a local bread-like foodstuff) was set. The Agency stated that the new standards are based on several aspects or characteristics of the product and includes packaging and appropriate labeling. 
The Ethiopian Standard Agency Director, General Almaz Kahsay, stated at the press conference that, even though the Agency tries its best to set the required standards, if consumers are not aware of it, it would not bring about much needed change in the quality of products produced locally, or in imported products. “Consumers need to exercise their right of getting safe and up-to-standard products. We are working hard to set these standards, but if consumers don’t also demand products with the set standards from producers and traders, it would not be of much help,” Almaz stated.
The issue of near to expiry products coming into the country was also discussed at the press conference. Although there is a mandatory standard set concerning packaging and expiry dates, goods that have very little time left to expire still make it into the country and they do expire by the time they are placed on the shelves. “It is easy to identify products that have met the standard in the market as they carry a stamp that says they have indeed met the stringent requirements and are of assured quality. We have been trying to familiarize people on what the stamp looks like, so that it makes it easier to purchase safe, quality products. But, many are still unaware that products are supposed to carry the stamp,” stated the Director.
The Ethiopian Standard Agency approved 2,118 standards last year in sectors such as flower packaging, cereals and pulses, oil seeds, fertilizers, milk and milk products, textiles, leather and leather products, and chemical products, among other things.