BRC auditors are trained for the first time in West Africa, thanks to the support of BeninCajù
Benin cashews no longer know any borders, thanks to the British Retail Consortium certification, or BRC, to which two of the largest cashew processing factories in the country have already committed.
From 19 to 23 November 2018, BeninCajù trained 12 cashew experts in Cotonou who will serve as third-party BRC auditors. Already praised for the high quality of its cashew kernels, Benin is also ahead in terms of hygiene and food safety standards compared to other countries in West Africa, and the newly obtained British Retail Consortium Global Standard Certification, proves it!
According to Frédéric Gnonlonfoun, BeninCajù's Quality Issues Specialist, auditors training is of utmost importance and this is the first time that such a training is been provided in West Africa. 80% of the BRC Global Standard third-party auditor training is conducted in London at the BRC headquarters and it normally costs £1,500, or CFAF 1,103,050 per participant. BRC is an international standard for food safety, and today it is seen as the most trustworthy food standard reference in the agri-food processing world. Large international distribution chains usually require their food suppliers to have a BRC certification. BRC certified companies have no problem selling anywhere in the world. “This is really a huge opportunity for us”, adds Mr. Gnonlonfoun. The training of third-party BRC auditors is the first step in the certification process; successful participants will later be able to audit agribusiness companies and issue BRC certificates on behalf of the certification body.
With this training, Fludor and Tolaro Global, the two biggest cashew factories in Benin, will be better equipped to understand international standards and auditing requirements. It will also benefit the National Cashew Processors Council of Benin, CNTC, which wants to develop a technical committee composed of auditors to monitor the hygiene and quality levels in processing plants operating in Benin. BeninCajù's support to this training is part of the project’s vision to help increase and ensure the quality of cashews in Benin. Before the BRC training, BeninCajù had already helped twenty actors in the cashew processing industry obtain a PCQI diploma (Preventive Controls Qualified Individuals) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is a requirement of the new American Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). All these actions and initiatives reinforce Benin’s commitment to strengthen and develop its cashew health security system.