Quality & Technical Standards

As part of the GCC Customs Union, member countries are working toward unified food standards –targeted for adoption by 2011. However, each country currently applies either its own standard or a GCC standard.

Bahraini standards are required to meet national requirements (safety, quality, and fitness for purpose), as prepared by the respective technical committees. Most often, Bahraini standards are adoptions of international or Gulf standards and the development of standards in Bahrain is based on the following principles:

  • No Bahraini standard is to be developed if there is an identical draft Gulf standard in existence

  • Developing new Bahraini standards must not create trade barriers.

The total number of Gulf standards adopted as Bahraini standards currently stands at 1,020, out of which 520 are mandatory and 500 are voluntary. There are also approximately 206 draft Gulf standards in the pipeline. In March 2010, GCC Finance Ministers agreed to establish a committee to oversee and speed up the process to unify Gulf Standards.

Bahrain‘s Standards and Metrology Directorate (BSMD) is a government institution within the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. It is responsible, in accordance with Legislative Decree No. 16 of 1985 on Standards and Metrology, as amended by Legislative Decree No. 13 of 1992, for issuing Bahrain‘s standards, either by adopting as national standards the international or Gulf standards issued by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Standards and Metrology Organization, or by preparing standards to meet national requirements.

The BSMD is led by a National Committee that acts as the Board of Directors. This board, made up of representatives from relevant ministries and the Chamber of Commerce as well as individual experts, is the highest authority on standards and metrology. The BSMD consists of two sections: the Standards & Information section and Quality Assurance & Metrology section.