Directorate of Testing, Calibration and Packaging Services

The Testing, Calibration and Packaging Services, also known as the Test House, performs testing and calibration functions and issues test reports and calibration certificates for such undertakings. It also offers consultancy services to industries in respect of test procedures with which it has experience, investigates and exploits any potential for new testing projects and participates in TBS Technical Committees in order to give its expertise and to obtain interpretations of test methods in standards used in its work.

The Test House, being the custodian of national primary measurement standards for Tanzania also offers calibration services and assessment of equipment used by manufacturers for their own testing.

The Test House is divided into seven laboratories based broadly on their disciplines. These are Metrology, Building and Construction, Electrical, Mechanical, Food and Microbiology, Chemistry and Textile/Leather/Condom laboratories. The Packaging Technology Centre also falls under the Directorate of Testing, Calibration and Packaging Services.

The Directorate also manages the Regional Technical Centre (RTC) for East and Central Africa under the Commercial Standardization of Instrument Testing of Cotton Project whose laboratory (the Cotton laboratory) is situated at TBS.

The Testing and Calibration Department supervises testing and calibration in eight laboratories, namely Metrology, Building and Construction, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Food, Chemistry, Textile/Leather/Condom and Cotton laboratories.

Metrology Laboratory
The Metrology Laboratory has the following functions:

a) Calibration of measurement standards and precision instruments in various fields of measurements;
b) Establishing custody and maintenance of the National Measurement Standards (NMSs) related to all physical parameters, at internationally accepted level of accuracy;
c) Supporting the public through the provision of internationally recognized measurement standards and measurements;
d) Ensuring conformity of the National Measurement Standards (NMSs) with the international measurement standards, which are the quantities and units defined in the International System of Units (SI);
e) Ensuring traceability of the values of the National Measurement Standards (NMSs) to the
f) International System of Units (SI).

Building and Construction Laboratory
The Building and Construction Laboratory is involved in testing building and construction materials and components.

The materials and components which are tested at the laboratory include cement, aggregates, hardened concrete, bricks and blocks, clay and concrete tiles, concrete pipes and culverts, etc.

The laboratory also performs calibration of compression machines, CBR machine, load cells and Marshall Test machines.

Mechanical Engineering Laboratory
The Mechanical Engineering Laboratory deals with testing of steel plates, steel bars, iron ingots, bicycle tyres and tubes, iron sheets, retro-reflective number plates, steel pipes/tubes, agricultural implements, auto parts, bolts, nuts, galvanized articles, etc., to determine different properties, including tensile strength, yield stress, elongation, bending, coating, etc.

Electrical Engineering Laboratory
The Electrical Engineering Laboratory engages itself in testing household and similar electrical appliances as well as electrical materials and accessories, against Tanzania, foreign and international standards.

Items tested at the laboratory include cables and cords, installation materials, cookers, refrigerators, freezers, lamps, dry cells, welding transformers, lead acid starter batteries, transmission equipment such as porcelain insulators, etc.

Textile/Leather/Condom Laboratory
The Textile, Leather and Condom Laboratory provides test facilities for both textile, leather and condom industries as well as assisting manufacturers through consultancy in improving the quality of their products.

The laboratory also undertakes training to laboratory analysts in good laboratory techniques. It is equipped with modern equipment for testing both the physical and chemical parameters of fibres, fabrics, leather and male latex condoms.

The following tests are done in the condom testing mini laboratory:
a) Determination of condom dimensions (length, width and thickness);
b) Determination of bursting volume and pressure (untreated and oven-treated);
c) Package seal integrity;
d) Freedom from holes;
e) Determination of lubricant quantity.

Chemistry Laboratory
The Chemistry Laboratory performs the following functions:
a) Testing of all chemicals, allied products and environmental samples. The samples tested cover a large variety e.g. soaps, detergents, mosquito coils, water, minerals, industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals. It is well equipped with instruments like the Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS), Flame Photometer and UV/Visible Spectrophotometer enabling it to give accurate and quick test results;
b) Provides training in product testing related to chemicals and laboratory Quality Management Systems, (ISO 17025);
c) Conducts collaborative environmental research work;
d) Consultancy to industrialists;
e) It is a coordinator for Tanzania Proficiency Testing Scheme (TPTS);
f) It provides Edible Salt Proficiency testing at National and EAC level;
g) Provides Drinking Water Proficiency Testing Scheme at National level;
h) Coordinates SADC Proficiency Testing Scheme;
i) It is a contact point for Testing Technical Sub-Committee for EAC/PTB, SQMT Project;
j) It conducts air quality monitoring.

Food Laboratory
The TBS Food Laboratory is one of the laboratories implementing the general requirements for the competence for testing laboratories (ISO 17025) particularly in the microbiology section. This was judged by the European Auditors and South Africa National Accreditation System (SANAS) through document review and during initial assessment conducted between 11th and 12th December 2006. The laboratory provides test facilities for all food and agricultural commodities.

The laboratory consists of two sections:

a) Food Chemistry Section

The Food Chemistry Section performs chemical analysis of food including proximate composition such as moisture content, oil content, protein, mineral ash and acid insoluble ash and mineral contaminants.

b) Food Microbiology Section

Food Microbiology Section checks that food products are manufactured with due regard to good manufacturing practices. It performs screening of food pathogens microorganisms such as Salmonellae, Staphylococci, Vibrio cholerae, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Escherichia coli and indicators such as total coliforms and total bacteria count.

In addition, the Food Laboratory provides national technical assistance and consultation with regard to ISO 17025, General requirements for the competence of calibration and testing laboratories implementation on the testing laboratories, method validation and uncertainty of measurements and internal audit for microbiology laboratories.

Cotton laboratory

The Cotton Laboratory (link) is the Regional Technical Centre (RTC) for East and Central Africa under the Commercial Standardization of Instrument Testing of Cotton Project, co-founded by the European Union and the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC). The overall objective of the project is to assist the cotton producing countries in East and Central Africa to meet emerging quality assessment demands of the global cotton market so as to strengthen or at least maintain their competitive position in the world market.

The main services offered by the centre are:

a) Conducting training for laboratories and stakeholders in the region;
b) Conducting regional round trials;
c) Conducting retests on regional laboratory samples;
d) Providing expertise for cotton testing laboratories;
e) Collection and dissemination of technical information;
f)  Facilitating the cooperation between cotton testing laboratories.


In its efforts to support a coordinated development of the packaging industry by strengthening the existing standardization and testing capability in the area of packaging, the government of Tanzania established the Packaging Technology Centre (PTC) at Tanzania Bureau of Standards.

The PTC covers the following packaging test laboratories:

a) Transport packaging laboratory
b) Food packaging laboratory
c) Climate chamber

The packaging services provided by the Packaging Technology Centre include:

a) Testing packages and packaging materials to ensure quality;
b) Providing training to the industries and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on matters concerning quality packaging designs;
c) Conducting research and consultancy work on issues pertaining to quality packaging;
d) Providing third party certification for packaging materials and packages produced according to acceptable standards;
e) Providing testing services for packages and packaging materials;
f) Developing national standards on packages and packaging materials;
g) Facilitations of import and export of the packaging materials against relevant standards;
h) Providing information on packaging standards, requirements and technology.