Packaging company has a wrap on food safety

More confidence for customers, consumers through certification

Workers inside the Color Ad Packaging company in Winnipeg.

A Manitoba food packaging company is looking to expand their business after achieving food safety packaging certification.

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is an industry-driven initiative providing leadership and guidance on food safety managements systems required for safety along the supply chain. It provides recognition to food safety management schemes when they meet internationally recognized food safety requirements.

Many customers and retailers now require suppliers to implement one of the recognized food safety standards as a way to demonstrate their commitment to food safety.

Color Ad Packaging in Winnipeg was certified to IFS PACsecure in May 2015. This certification will help the company gain new customers and build its brand as a safety leader. It is the first Manitoba food packaging manufacturer to achieve certification to this standard. The company received funding assistance from Growing Forward 2.

"When a business is deciding if they want to do work with us, one of the first questions is always 'are you GFSI certified?'" said Tony Christian, compliance co-ordinator at Color Ad. "It's something that's very sought-after nowadays, and now we can say 'yes we are.'"

Food safety important in every step from farm to fork

"Until recently, food safety programs were dedicated to food processors. As the understanding of food safety risks have evolved, it has extended to packaging," said Maria Krawec, food safety specialist for Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. "It's a big achievement to receive certification to a GFSI recognized food safety standard."

Over the past ten years the food packaging industry has seen more demand for safe food practices. This is to ensure food is safe from potential hazards that may be associated with the packaging material. It is important that food safety programs extend from the farm to the shelves of a store or restaurant, and potential issues are controlled at each step.

"Up until now, it's not unusual for a customer to want to come and inspect the factory to see our food safety practices. It's not something they want to do and it takes time, but they might feel they have to be sure. With this certification they can trust that they won't have to do that," Christian said.

Meeting the demands to expand business

Color Ad, which has manufactured packaging since 2000, decided to develop an internal food safety program in 2013 and have continued to modify and expand the program to meet customer needs.

"Listen to your customer. If the businesses you supply are asking for a food safety program, look into one. Consumers and businesses in the industry are more aware of food safety. It's important to stay up to date with industry trends and requirements," said Krawec. "With this certification, Color Ad can approach customers with confidence to speak about their commitment to food safety.

Color Ad implemented the IFS PACsecure program and achieved certification with funding assistance from the Growing Assurance program. The program helps to benefit producers, processors, and businesses implement environmental initiatives, management practices and food safety initiatives within the province of Manitoba.