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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  12 Apr 2010

PACKAGING: Cibapac Wins BRC Certification


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CIBAPAC, the Cape Town-based food packaging manufacturer, recently became the holder of a British Retail Consortium (BRC) certificate, now a benchmark global standard for the safe production, packaging, storage and distribution of food and consumer products.

Prominent in the meat, poultry, fish, cheese, ready meals, bakery, pizza, fast food and fresh produce sectors, Cibapac is a leading manufacturer of PVC stretch/cling film, expanded polystyrene (EPS) trays, flexible barrier packaging, multi-layer vacuum bags and seamless casings for polonies.

Achieving BRC certification is a major milestone for us – as any company that’s gone down this road will appreciate, it is a long, arduous and costly journey that takes enormous commitment from top management down to the factory floor to get there,” says Cibapac MD, Ivan Ortlepp. “The BRC logo to our inventory give our customers, and their consumers, the quality and safety assurance inherent in the certificate. We’re confident the endpoint of world-class manufacturing and competitiveness will be worthwhile.”

Ortlepp stresses that Cibapac’s decision to go for BRC certification was not so much a reactive response to external pressures from any specific customers, but rather a bid to install and sustain a food safety management system as part of Cibapac’s business strategy and objectives. “Food safety has to be taken seriously. Consumer and regulatory forces, not least the new Consumer Protection Act, are aggressively nudging the food industry to do more to assure that the foods they produce are safely packed for consumption,” he says.

Food packaging is now seen as a food ingredient – and packaging suppliers simply have to play by this rule. Furthermore, global retailers and brand owners prefer to do business with suppliers who have gained BRC certification as it’s an assurance for them of the quality standards met by a manufacturer.”

BRC is a rigorous international standard that requires implementation of HACCP, the food safety risk management system; a documented and effective Quality Management System; continuous improvement; and control of the factory environment, product, process and personnel. In light of the packaging industry’s diversity, BRC is defined in three categories depen-ding on whether the product comes into direct contact with the packaging. Cibapac has category one certification which is for ‘packaging that comes into direct contact with high-risk products’, and which is the highest certification that can be achieved.

Cibapac undertook the year-long project with the input of consultants, The Wareham Group, and was certified by third-party auditors, National Britannia. Internally, the exercise was jointly lead by Cibapac’s technical manager, Ian Edwards, and Keith McCarogher, operations improvement ma-nager.

BRC is about more than identifying non-conformances and annual audit findings. It’s about recalibrating the eyes of all employees to see our processes from a food safety perspective. And, of course, it’s important that we get a return on this investment and already we are seeing a difference in our performance and productivity. We have implemented an effective internal auditing system, too, as this will keep our system current and standards up. This review process also helps to break down operational silos and promotes true organisational development.”

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