We took a great step towards international growth, with the registration of NCP Antwerp (Nuts Cleaning and Packaging) in Belgium. Today we started with the cleaning and sorting of pistachio nuts for the Pistachio Alliance. Congratulations @Bart van de Mierop @Molenbergnatie NV with our new cooperation and @Jason Nissen @The WonderfulCompany, thank you for your confidence in our services.
In January and May 2020, three audits were conducted at Nuts Cleaning & Packaging (NCP), including BRC Food standard, IFS Food standard and SKAL. The first two mentioned have obtained one of the highest levels. This means that the quality and food safety of the products are high level guaranteed during the entire process.
NCP has been in possession of the BRC certificate for several years, but has been awarded to BRC A level since May 2020. This means that no fundamental deviations were found during the audit and that the food safety standard has been implemented at a high level. The ambition of NCP is big according to Mark Klopstra: “Next year we hope to achieve BSC level A +, the audit will be unannounced and carried out by a third party.” In addition to BRC Food Standard, NCP achieved the highest attainable certificate of all IFS certifications, which is equal to the BRC standards. Both standards include strict food safety requirements. Mapping consumer risks in the food industry is performed according to the HACCP system. If there are food safety hazards there will be sufficient control measures. During the audit, the entire system is examined to determine that all identified risks are secured.
Without a SKAL certification, the products could not be treated and keep it’s biological status. This means that the processes of NCP comply within the regulations that have been drawn up for organic production. NCP has been BIO certified since August 2017 and has been updated since the beginning of January 2020.
Insight into all NCP certifications? Go to the overview.
Only 6 weeks ago – which feels like an eternity – it became clear what was in store for us regarding measures in case of Coronavirus. The first notifications came from our Italian colleagues about quarantines, possible lockdown, hundreds of infected, and the first people who died from this virus. Then it escalated quickly. We also had to prepare ourselves, which risks and impact this pandemic would have for our companies in the other European countries, where we operate. We involved our customers to know their vision for the coming months. Also new forecasts have been made and we did some research into reducing work time. Various scenarios passed. Precautions have been taken; cars from the operational staff have all been supplied with soap and water, extra cleaning has been scheduled, all the office personnel were asked to work from home. We try to follow one clear policy as hard as we can. Of course, with specific exceptions in each Country.
The fact is that this situation is showing how strong our organisation is: there is more cooperation than ever on all fronts, we have daily team meetings, where we keep each other informed about developments by video conference. HR, QHSE, Sales and Operations have never worked that close and intensively before. Everyone has a lot of creativity and is motivated to answer to all our customers issues. The most important thing is we remain self-motivated.
This situation reminds me of a Dutch quote: “alone you go faster, together you come further.” This sentence certainly applies to us. We really do this together!
We have divisions that are struggling, so we are blessed that we also work in branches that continue to run their business. Logistic never stands still, pests cannot be held back by coronavirus and the demand for our services has never been higher in the food industry. New services, such as disinfection, have been developed and time has been dedicated to knowledge transfer. Multidisciplinary training of our colleagues has always been a high priority on our agenda, but due to constant growth and tight labour markets, this has been difficult to achieve. Nowadays, colleagues between the different divisions are exchanged more than ever before.
It’s often said in the news: there is a world before coronavirus and a world after it, and it will never be like before. I must tell you honestly that I hope so, because this extraordinary situation brought significant changes. I am proud, extremely proud of our colleagues, our partners (customers and suppliers). We all stand together, with patience and understanding. This is inspiring and give us the drive to go for it every day.
Take care, enjoy the little things and try to stay healthy!
Article as PDF: Proud despite hard times!
VacQPack is now member of the Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association (PTNPA), and will be attending the convention in January in Orlando. We hope to see you there!
More than 70 percent of all cashews are fumigated with fosfine right before they are packed. The goal of this is to kill stock harming insects. Cashews are almost always packed in vacuum plastic bags in boxes. Because of the vacuum, the gas can’t get out of the packaging. This brings along a huge risk for the people opening these boxes and plastic packaging afterwards.
Dangers of fosfine
Fosfine is ingested in the body by breathing it in. Fosfine is colourless, scentless and inflammable. It is also deadly in really small concentrations. The limit value of fosfine is almost everywhere in the world 0,1 ppm. Fosfine comes along with enormous health hazards, like shortness of breath, dizziness, drowsiness and even arrhythmias. People who are exposed to fosfine regularly can develop brochitis and anemia, among others.
The solution of EWS Group and NCP Group
EWS Group does not only carry out gas measurement of containers and open areas, but also measures between and inside the goods when there is a reason to do so. With our many years of experience, we measure a minimum of ten boxes in vacuum in a container of cashew nuts. The results of this are shocking. We regularly stumble upon concentrations of fosfine of more than 1000 times the statutory limit!
NCP Group, a sister company of EWS Group, has developed a service regarding the degassing of these batches of cashew nuts in a responsible and safe way. NCP Group rebags the cashews from the boxes in a big bag. We do all this with respiratory protection. The big bags are ventilated by means of an innovative extraction installation. With this installation, the detrimental gases are intercepted by carbon filters. We do this until the concentration of fosfine is below the limit value. After that, the cashews can be packed in any desired packaging.
Would you like to know more about the Gas measurement division of EWS Group? Go to: https://www.ews-group.nl/gas-measurement/. Are you curious about how NCP Group can help you? Visit https://www.ncp-group.nl/en/
In the past two months, the yearly BRC, IFS and SKAL audits took place. This year we are proud to announce that we received these certificates again! In particular IFS higher level gives us the feeling that we are on the right track and it gives us extra drive to professionalize in other area’s of expertise.
These certificates offer you and us as an organization certainty regarding the control of the production process, traceability and quality. They also contribute to a clear analysis of the risks, the control thereof and a continuous improvement of the food safety.
In short: Nuts Cleaning & Packaging B.V. can bring your (biological) products within the required specifications!
We are proud to announce that we are now a member of Vietnam Cashew Association!
We are proud to have received the IFS International Food Standard and BRC Global Standard for Food Safety certificate, that ensures that services meet the needs of customers.
VacQPack and Nuts Cleaning & Packaging are one of the main sponsors of the World Cashew Convention & Exhibition (WCC). The WCC takes place at the Grand Sheraton in Macau, from the 1st till 3th of February 2018. You are very welcome to visit us at stand 9&10.