Monday 21 September, 2020

Salada Foods retains high marks in Safe Quality Food re-certification

Dianna Blake Bennett, General Manager at Salada Foods.

Dianna Blake Bennett, General Manager at Salada Foods.

Salada Foods Jamaica has successfully earned a rating of 96 per cent in Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 2 Certification, a globally recognised food safety initiative.

This re-certification will position the company as a contract manufacturer of choice for coffee products and instant powders/ teas in the Caribbean and North America, as it confers a high level of recognition, credibility and competitiveness.

“We provide a turn-key solution that allows our customers to locally manufacture and package their brand offerings according to their unique formulations. Our operating framework is surprisingly scalable, as such, our manufacturing services become appealing to not only large suppliers but also to start-up companies seeking to venture into the private label business each with their own novel formulation,” noted Dianna Blake Bennett, General Manager at Salada Foods Jamaica.

The SQF Program is recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and links primary production certification to food manufacturing, distribution and agent/broker management certification.

Further, the certification will ensure customer confidence as Salada seeks to expand its footprint in export markets.

Salada improved its performance in the latest assessment by two percentage points, following its previous assessment, making the company one of only six companies to get SQF certification in the region.

“With our recent re-certification of SQF Level 2 in January 2019, at now an even higher rating, it reaffirms that we have not only maintained our quality standards – but improved them. We can say assuredly that Salada Foods is open for business,” said Blake Bennett.

Salada invested over $15 million in infrastructural modifications, which included re-doing its plant floors, painting the factory and upgrading production equipment.

“SQF is a very detailed and prescriptive certification system but we continue to toe the line with the ongoing support from Quality Systems Solutions and Initiatives our consulting partner, our Board of Directors and our dedicated Salada team members,” Blake Bennett said.

Indeed, the company is expected to reap positive returns from the investment. In the meantime, the re-certification serves as a testament to the type of quality manufacturing done at Salada.

“Our 60 years of experience has taught us that potential suppliers will only entrust their brands to a company who values quality as much as they do,” Blake Bennett added.

The level of difficulty associated with SQF requires commitment and a positive change in cultural practices to meet one of the world’s most prescriptive quality and food safety standard.

Sheryl Anderson, founder and managing director of Quality Systems Solutions and Initiatives (QSSI) lauded Salada’s diligence and commitment in the process.

 “It took a lot of hard work; physically and emotionally from the team. Achieving 96 per cent is not easy especially with a prescriptive standard such as SQF. The production workers at Salada understood the rationale for the changes to be made and committed to the task by making food safety and quality a habit,” Anderson said.

“A typical company can take eight to 24 months to acquire certification; this is based on product risk, the number of employees and size of the company. Salada implemented the standard within nine months which attest to the commitment of management, the dedication of staff and courage and vision of the board,” concluded Anderson.

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