The Grenada Distillers Limited (GDL) has received another major international recognition by securing the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Certification.
According to General Manager, Ruel Edwards, HACCP Certification is the systematic preventative approach to food safety, which addresses physical, chemical and biological hazards before and during a production process rather than emphasis on inspection to a finish product at the end of a production cycle.
The HACCP Certificate is issued by SGS, a multinational company headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
Established in 1878, the company is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and Certification Company.
During a ceremony to announce the certification, Edwards said that the work to gain HACCP Certification began in 2003 when Projects Manager, George Kirton, presented management with a 50-page document to seek certification.
He said that as a result of this HACCP Certification was included as a major objective for the 2012 financial year and a timeframe of two months was presented to the Board of Directors to receive certification.
On February 2, 2012, the first HACCP meeting led by Heida Rahim convened.
Edwards said that over 17 months, GBL re-wrote countless standard operating procedures as well as re-organised the company’s operations to drive efficiency, conduct numerous training sessions to equip staff with technical knowledge required to deliver a safe product.
It also hired new employees who shared the passion and believed in the vision in making GDL a flagship company, invested substantially in health and safety to assure that an environment that lends itself to productivity is present, produced numerous booklets on Good Manufacturing practices which has become the bible or go to book within the walls of the company.
Edwards pointed out that these things were all done through the steady and unwavering resolve of the Board of Directors headed by its Chairman, Leroy Neckles and supported by other directors.
“What you see here today, is an achievement that positions the Grenada Distillers Limited to take advantage of international market opportunities for its products by demonstrating to the international customer and regulator that we do have a food safety management system.
“What you see here today will be the first of its kind among the spirits producers in Grenada. In other words, we are the leaders not only in terms of uniqueness of taste and elegance in packaging style but also a strong differentiator of our brand on the grounds of quality.
“We now have such a food safety system that is functional and credible and puts us among a select few companies in Grenada with this level of any internationally recognised food safety certification.”
The GDL Manager stated that the Certification enables the company among other things to demonstrate that its products, processes, systems are compliant with national and international standards and regulations.
Edwards said the Certification also allows GBL to position itself to grow and develop into a mature company that can provide adequate returns to shareholders, quality products to customers, as well as to become an employer of choice that can contribute positively to Grenada’s GDP and to uplift the community it serves.
The local distiller boss stressed that GDL is striving to become the leading private sector company in Grenada and the certification is not only a national celebration for members of its own family but all Grenadians.
“As the auditor said, ‘the easy part is to get the certificate. The hard part is to keep it,”.
“Through our great commitment and resolve, am sure that we will build on what we have achieved today”, he added.
Minister of Economic Development, Trade, Planning and Cooperatives, Oliver Joseph, congratulated GDL on its “graduation”.
“… You passed the test”, said the senior government minister who added that this did not come easy but agreed that the investment made was a good one.
Board Chairman, Leroy Neckles, complimented the GDL staff for their long hours of dedication and determination to achieve certification.
He also congratulated the previous New National Party (NNP) administration of Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell for making one of government’s “best decisions” when the Grenada Sugar Factory was sold years ago.
Grenada Distillers Limited to date has produced 17 products and over the past 10 years has accumulated 107 Medals, Awards and Accolades.