Accolade follows years of minute care, writes Zandile Mbabela
IT is one of Nelson Mandela Bay’s longest standing companies, with a brand that has had a presence in almost every South African kitchen cupboard for decades.
And last night, salt manufacturer Cerebos –which is celebrating its 70th year in business – announced it had been awarded the world’s leading food safety standards certification.
The FSSC 22000 certification makes Cerebos the only salt manufacturer in Southern Africa to boast this global accolade, which is considered a step up on the popular, credibility-adding ISO accreditation.
Now housed at the Coega Industrial Zone, the company is an internationally acclaimed brand and considered the leader in the South African retail salt market, with distribution extending throughout Southern and Sub-Saharan Africa. Managing director John Drinkwater received the certificate at the anniversary celebrations last night.
“For our consumer base, it means we are living up to our brand promise of impeccable standards. For our industrial customers, it means they can rest assured that our product is closely vetted and of the highest standard in the world,” he said.
The certification has been four years in the making and one which signifies millions of rands in investment in the IDZ plant, Drinkwater said. Cerebos quality assurance executive Jeanette Burger – who spearheaded the quest for the sought-after certification – said it had not been an easy feat, dealing with international auditors and a European FSSC 22000 vetting board that had the final say on all applications.
“Being FSSC 22000 certified means that the 30 000 tons of salt produced annually at our IDZ facility is of the highest international quality,” she said. “It also means that every step of the production process can be carefully traced, right down to the shop floor employees who handled the product on the day it was produced.
“We had an entire food safety team whose responsibility it was to ensure that our standards met those required by the FSSC 22000 committee. For our IDZ facility to retain this standard, we will be audited regularly.”
The company’s achievement was lauded by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, with chief executive Kevin Hustler saying it was evidence that the city was capable of producing globally competitive players not just in the automotive sector, but in the food and agro-processing sectors as well.
“Evolving and adapting over the decades to the challenges in the business environment is what we wish for all our members – to remain sustainable enterprises that prosper and create jobs in Nelson Mandela Bay.”
This story appeared in Weekend Post on Saturday, 5 December, 2015 e-Edition