DARe inviting F&B manufacturers to join Standards Consultancy Programme

Programme to enable local F&B companies to target overseas markets

Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) is looking to guide five food and beverage companies to achieve internationally-recognized certifications to enable them to penetrate overseas markets under the first phase of their Standards Consultancy Programme (SCP).

DARe’s SCP will offer fully-sponsored consultancy through Arete Solutions to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on how they can achieve International Organisation for Standardisations (ISO) 22000 and Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certifications.

Following the programme, participating companies are expected to follow through by engaging an independent certification body for an audit within six months.

The cost for the audit – estimated at $5,000 to $10,000 – and to implement any changes to attain certification will not be borne by DARe’s SCP.

However, SCP participants will have the opportunity to apply for additional assistance from DARe separately, which include grantsindustrial sites and land as well as other market access initiatives.

“DARe’s market access is looking to help local companies to export; that’s why we want to push for more to adopt (international) standards so that they can meet requirements to enable export,” said Diana Hj Ramli from DARe during a briefing on SCP on Thursday at the Design & Technology building in Anggerek Desa.

HACCP identifies “critical control points” in an operation where hazards – which can potentially cause food to be unsafe – are evident. HACCP certified companies must showcase systems which reduce hazards to a safe level.

ISO 22000, which also incorporates HACCP principles, is a broader Food Safety Management System (FSMS) that’s internationally adopted through auditable standards.

Certification manager for Bureau Veritas Ram M. Desai (pictured R) shared that certifications like ISO and HACCP are critical for SMEs to export as they act as a “shorthand” in ensuring importers that these products were manufactured under specific standards.

“People in other countries might not have heard of your company but if they see that you are ISO certified, they can be confident that what they are buying will work (the way they expect it) or is safe to consume,” said Ram.

Ram shared that are more than 50 companies in the Sultanate that have ISO 9001 – a more general quality management system certification – but only five with ISO 22000.

He said the disparity was due to ISO 9001 certification being a requirement for many government contracts, while ISO 22000 is specific for the F&B industry, and is not a requirement to sell F&B products locally.

Ram also clarified that ISO and HACCP certifications are focused on evaluating the systems and processes a company has in place, and not the volume companies are producing or servicing.

DARe added that site visits would be conducted to SCP applicants to determine their suitability. Those that are too early in their development to participate will receive recommendations to improve their processes for the next cycle of SCP.

Those interested to engage with SCP can view the FAQ and download the registration form from DARe’s website. The deadline for application is on October 22, 2018. Inquiries can be directed to market.access@dare.gov.bn.