In a South African first, RSA Group, the country’s leading fresh produce sales agency, has expanded its food security accreditation at the Tshwane market to cover all its floors and product lines.
The group had already received accreditation for its tomato and vegetable lines from QPRO | SAI Global, one of the country’s foremost food security auditing and testing service providers. RSA Group’s certification has now been extended to cover its entire Tshwane Market presence, following a comprehensive audit and assessment process that began two years ago.
‘Food security accreditation is a very important aspect of the fresh produce industry,’ explains Jaco Oosthuizen, RSA Group CEO. ‘Consumers place significant importance on food safety, and so do retailers and farmers. As a key role player in the centre of the value chain RSA Group must also be able to certify food safety standards to ensure we support our business partners in their mission to deliver the best possible value to consumers.’
RSA Group has been carrying out the accreditation since the beginning of 2019 in its private capacity and views the journey as an important investment in its core business offering.
Certification has involved an extensive, multi-phased process featuring regular audits specifically designed to examine warehousing practises such as food safety management systems, food safety incident management, good manufacturing practices, control of allergens, cleaning and disinfection, product contamination control, pest control, water quality, waste management and storage and transport, among many others.
‘Securing this accreditation was non-negotiable for RSA Group. The industry keeps upping its game with respect to food security standards and it’s essential that we move hand in hand with our business partners,’ says Oosthuizen. ‘With Luan Wentzel, MD of RSA Group’s Tshwane and Regional business units, spearheading the accreditation process to a range of retailers through the private markets we operate at, it makes natural business sense to get it in place at a major municipal market like Tshwane as well.’
The accreditation guarantees that all fresh produce moving through the RSA Group system at Tshwane Market upholds the highest food safety standards – and that these standards are maintained by the group independently of the surrounding market infrastructure.
‘Given various municipal infrastructure challenges, the accreditation assures producers that from an RSA Group perspective food moving through the supply chain is fully compliant,’ concludes Oosthuizen. ‘We view the move as a very positive development in our business, and we’ll certainly be considering it at other municipal markets as well.’