Two Georgian Labs Got ANSI Quality Certificates
25 October, 2012
Two Georgian Labs Got ANSI Quality  Certificates

Two Georgian labs Multitest and Wine Laboratory are the first national accreditation bodies acquiring international certificates of the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) enabling Georgian labs to provide local companies with the internationally recognized quality papers locally.

Multitest and Wine Laboratory Ltd were shortlisted for the ANSI certificate in frames of the USAID supported Economic Prosperity Initiative (EPI) project focused on promotion of Georgian export. EPI project on labs make Georgian Accreditation Center (GAC) to start cooperation with the ANSI in

order to put Georgian accreditation bodies closer with the international quality standards. GAC and ANSI signed a memorandum of understanding past October in frames of which 10 labs accredited by GAC went through training seminars held by ANSI. The labs were selected in line with Georgia export priorities – labs involved in testing key local export product as wine, water, hazelnut, fruit and vegetables. ANSI experts came to Georgia to research and assess the potential of Georgian market and accreditation bodies specifically. Finally, ANSI selected two most successful labs and handed the international quality certificates t them on October 17, 2012.

The project initiators believe with this Georgia is increasing its engagement in the global market and rises the quality and food safety recognition for Georgian product as well as boos job creation.

ANSI is one of the strongest and leading accreditation/standardization organizations globe over with the 100 years of experience. It is a co-founder of ISO. Sandro Shelia, Senior Director of Accreditation Service of ANSI accentuated that the Multitest and Wine Laboratory got the first ever ANSI certificates not only in Georgia but in the entire South Caucasus region.

There are 12 accredited labs in Georgia all in all and the number meets the market demand as of yet as the demand is not very intensive due to legislative gap and distrust toward accreditation sector that was of notorious fame for enrooted corruption. Although situation is radically improved in the sector companies still appear suspicious.

On the other hand, in 2005 the liberally inclined Georgian government halted the key paragraphs on foods safety including penalties and standards till 2011 that discouraged companies to think of certification.  The governmental standpoint was to spare business from bankruptcy. They decided to give the enterprises time to find due investments for re-equipping production technologies in line with due safety standards. Meantime the number of food poisoning cases doubled and even tripled compared to 2004. The law entered into effect partially in 2011 but penalties were active only for the export-oriented companies, the local-market oriented enterprises were exempted till 2012.

As an aftermath, demand on quality certificates was low [only export-oriented companies and some reputable local-market oriented companies cared for it] that discouraged labs to acquire costly international certificates as did not expect repayment of invested resources. Certificates similar to ANSI cost at average USD 20 thousand and EUR 10 thousand in the US and EU respectively. Multitest and Wine Laboratory afforded the ANSI certificates thanks to technical support of EPI program.

Now Malkhaz Kharebava, Deputy Head of GAC, believes the Multitest and Wine Laboratory success will boost demand on similar certification. Two more labs have already applied for ANSI certificates and more are expected to come on the way.

Benefits of the ANSI certified Georgian labs are obvious to local entrepreneurs: they spare export-oriented companies from double expenses and give impetus to local-market-oriented companies to think of export in prospect. The thing is that the ANSI accreditation gives credit to the certificates of said Georgian labs globe over and once a Georgian company gets it no additional certification of the exported product is required at any other market including the EU and US - both luring Georgian exporters by potential free trade prospects with Georgia.

According to Irma Tchanturia, Director of Wine Laboratory, although their lab was founded by the German state supported German Technical Partnership 6 years ago, was put on the list recognized by the EU organizations and had the state-of-the-art equipment, Georgian wineries accredited by Wine Laboratory had to go though similar testing procedures at export markets to verify due quality. And if an exporter decided to get the quality certificate immediately abroad they faced doubled and sometimes 6-times higher expenses. While now they can get certificate once and for all market will be cheaper at home.

“For exporting product to the Commonwealth of Independent State countries (CIS) we fix prices around GEL 145 and for the EU - GEL 185, provide by consultations to entrepreneurs and they feel comfortable with us. In the EU they had to pay EUR 700 for similar paper because our product is not familiar to them and they had to test it not in a complex way as we did but on each component separately, while we are responsible for the product from the vintage to the bottling,” Tchanturia told Georgian Journal.

Levan Kalandadze, Director of Multitest that focuses on multi-profile testing of food and agriculture product starting from the soil to processed product, hopes the awareness of Georgian entrepreneurs increases since  the law is already approved and international certificates available in Georgia.

“Who thinks of the image they come to us but such companies are not many unfortunately. The demand is low because there is rather lack of awareness than of financial resources for the certificate-related expenses are easily paid off. On the other hand nothing can offset the losses the certificate-free entrepreneurs may face if their product poisons someone or leads to fatal outcome,” he elaborated with GJ.

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