This blog post is the third of a series that will be published over the next few weeks. This series will allow you to get to know the 2018 GFSI Global Markets Awards winners from four countries across the globe (Nigeria, Mexico, Japan, and Pakistan) and how their use of the GFSI Global Markets Programme helped them to improve their food safety management systems. The Awards, initiated and sponsored by greenfence, included travel and access to the Global Food Safety Conference 2018 and discovery tours in Tokyo, Japan.
This third contribution is by 2018 Nigerian winner, Bamikole Sunday of Plantation Industries Limited.
The Global Markets Programme, building a pathway to certification, was created by GFSI seven years ago. It provides an unaccredited entry point for companies through a step-by-step Programme designed to build capacity within production and manufacturing operations. The Programme proposes ways for companies with less sophisticated food safety management systems to manage the challenges of food safety, while simultaneously reducing hazards in global food supply chains and improving market access through certification by one of the GFSI-recognised certification programme owners. The Programme toolkit is made up of self-assessments based on a checklist of GFSI requirements, a training and competency framework, as well as a protocol to guide the user throughout the Programme.
In addition to GFSI’s role as a recognised leader in the benchmarking of global food safety standards, the development of the Global Markets Programme has been hailed by industry stakeholders as one of GFSI’s premier contributions to improving food safety for consumers everywhere. Toolkits are available for primary production and manufacturing scopes and can be accessed in the GFSI library as free and open-source material in multiple languages.
Plantation Industries Limited, as the leading cocoa processing plant in Nigeria, is highly honoured to be the first African medium-scale company to win a GFSI Global Markets Award. This giant stride was a reward for our huge investment of capital, expertise, and energy, with the company’s management and staff commitment to ensuring the production and delivery of cocoa based products that meet statutory, regulatory and customer food safety requirements with seamless good manufacturing practices and strict adherence to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regimes.
Winning the GFSI Global Markets Award for the African region was a testimony to our high standard of operations, consistent production of excellent quality products over the years, and a reflection of our capacity to produce and deliver safe food to our customers everywhere. Through this, we at Plantation Industries Limited are contributing to the reduction of hazards in the global food supply chain. The award also paved the way for us to update our company’s vision of committing to the production and delivery of cocoa products of high quality to meet statutory, regulatory and customer food safety requirements, using the most appropriate food grade production facilities with strict adherence to established good manufacturing practices.
Winning the award made a lifetime dream of visiting one of the world’s most beautiful cities became a reality. Participating in the Global Food Safety Conferencemade our food safety journey step up from compliance monitoring to building a food safety culture where everyone takes responsibility for food safety and pursues it on a daily basis.
A Worthwhile Food Safety Journey
Plantation Industries Limited was incorporated as a limited liability company in 2011 to engage in processing and conversion of cocoa beans into liquor, butter, cake, and powder. Our journey of making quality and safe products started from the beginning by carefully selecting hygienically designed equipment and machinery required for our operations. The equipment and machinery were carefully installed to ensure good manufacturing practices. Although we ensured compliance with requirements to produce safe and quality food from the start, there is, nevertheless, a need to be certified to FSSC 22000 to justify actions put in place in compliance with the requirements of ISO standards.
Our journey to certification started in 2013 with the formation of a food safety and support team. The team, with members whose experience range from 3 to 15 years in their related fields, was spearheaded by a Quality Assurance Manager. They were responsible for the development of the food safety management system and associate operations, having gone through training on the requirements of the standard. Principles of the HACCP system by the Codex Alimentarius Commission were adopted in developing the HACCP. Control measures were put in place to eliminate or reduce identified hazards to an acceptable level and were verified and periodically validated as stated in the verification and validation plan.
A certification audit was conducted in April 2014 and compliance with the requirements of the standard was evidenced in minor nonconformities raised during the first ever certification audit by Bureau Veritas Certification. Continued compliance of our system to the requirements of FSSC 22000 standards was tested in a recertification audit that was conducted in May 2017, even with scope extension. Also, at the end of the audit, few minor nonconformities were recorded in both stages (stage 1 & 2) of the recertification / scope extension audit. There has been strict adherence to the internal audit and management review programme since inception of the audit process and these have been evidenced in continuous improvement recorded over the years.
Achieving GFSI-recognised certification has given Plantation Industries Limited a boost in cocoa processing and has allowed us to be more competitive in the market. Overall, 90% of customers supporting our cocoa products have specifically done so due to our FSSC 22000 certification. FSSC 22000 is a mandatory requirement without which suppling to the big players in the food industry would not have been possible. Also, several customer assessment and reassessment audits have been held successfully as a result of being certified to FSSC 22000. The Plantation Industries Limited team looks forward to continuing our food safety journey in line with the GFSI vision of safe food for consumers everywhere.
This blog was written and contributed by:
Quality Assurance Manager/ FST Leader
Plantation Industries Limited