Ecowize, a South African hygiene and sanitation provider to the food production industry has become the world’s first cleaning company to have successfully been audited against the food safety system standard of the International Organisation for Standardisation – ISO22000.

The announcement was made recently at a ceremony whereby Ecowize was awarded the certification by Wouter Conradie, Managing Director of National Sanitation Foundation – CMI (NSF-CMI), the leading provider of independent certification and assurance services throughout the international fresh produce supply chain.

According to Conradie this achievement marks a significant milestone for Ecowize, as the company has attained the highest possible level of being audited against the food safety system standard. “Many companies globally only reach the ISO 9001 level and often don’t even attempt to achieve such high standards.”

The audit, which spanned over four days, was conducted by highly qualified and experienced auditors from NSF-CMI, who selected various Ecowize plants at random and conducted a detailed systems analysis.

Gareth Lloyd-Jones, MD of Ecowize says that in order to successfully meet all the requirements of the ISO22000 the company had to have an exceptional food safety management system in place. This included making sure all interactive communication systems, systems management, prerequisite programs and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) were in place.

“We are all extremely proud of becoming the first cleaning company in the world to achieve this recognition. It also proves that through innovation and hard work, South African businesses can be true global industry leaders,” says Lloyd-Jones.

He says the company embarked on this process with the help of Competency Enhancement Solutions and the HACCP Academy and had to undergo the complex task of implementing various systems at multiple decentralised sites over several months in preparation for the audit. “The challenge now is to consistently apply these systems in order to maintain our reputable world-class status.”

According to Lloyd-Jones there is a growing need for international harmonisation of food safety standards and ISO22000 aims to meet this need. “With the increase in consumer demand for safe food, organisations within the South African food chain must constantly strive to meet these food safety requirements,” concludes Lloyd-Jones.

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