In a move that will minimise audit duplication pertaining to listing bottled water brands in its stores nationwide, South African retail chain, Pick n Pay, has agreed to accept South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA) bottled water audits.
This is a huge vote of confidence in SANBWA’s Bottled Water Standard and operation, and a major milestone in its endeavours to streamline compliance for its members and their customers, while maintaining strict adherence to the country’s legislation and the retailer’s own standards.
Commenting on the agreement, SANBWA CEO Charlotte Metcalf, welcomed it, saying that it not only confirmed the high global standard set by SANBWA for the local bottled water industry, but simplified the requirements for seeking a listing with the retailer thereby saving members time and money.
“This arrangement is offered as an alternative to Pick n Pay’s own audit. It means that SANBWA members – who obviously comply with the SANBWA standard and have passed its audit – will not have to pay for and pass an additional audit when selling to the chain.
“Non-SANBWA members will have to abide by the Pick n Pay audit requirements.”
The agreement with Pick n Pay follows that negotiated around a year ago with Botswana, an important trading partner for local bottled water bottlers.
In terms of a service level agreement concluded by SANBWA and the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS), SANBWA members in good standing do not need to undergo any additional audits or comply with any other requirements in order to export their products to Botswana.
Botswana agreed to partner with SANBWA to minimise duplication pertaining to the importation of local bottled water brands into that country.
Membership of SANBWA is voluntary but strictly controlled, and comprises bottlers of all classes of bottled water (natural, defined by origin and prepared). Their primary concern is the health, safety and pleasure of their consumers and therefore they willingly conform to the extremely stringent safety and quality measures contained in the SANBWA Bottled Water Standard.
A single standard covering legal, hygiene, food safety and quality, and environmental requirements, the SANBWA Bottled Water Standard:
- ensures legal compliance
- is fully auditable so that a single audit can ensure that all legal and food safety requirements have been met thereby protecting the bottler and enabling it to prove due diligence
- helps bottlers identify the areas where they still need to improve
- assists retailers and consumers to select suppliers of safe bottled water
Every year, SANBWA's third party auditors audits members to ensure that their source, bottling facility, final product and every aspect of their bottling process adheres to SANBWA’s stringent standards. SANBWA also randomly samples member products from the shelves on a monthly basis and has them tested for harmful agents.
The third version of this now 92-page document was published in May 2010 by SANBWA in consultation with NSF International, a global testing and certification company, and its affiliate on the African continent.
The technical advisory committee contributing to the development of the Standard included representatives from South Africa’s Department of Health, industry players and both local and international SANBWA experts.
“The Standard reflects the current best practices and legislation for bottling water of all types in South Africa. It was always intended to be a pragmatic and useful document, and comparable to the main food and beverage standards in major markets around the world. Indeed, it has been benchmarked favourably against the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) as including all the relevant control points of global standards,” added Metcalf.
In addition to quality, SANBWA and its members are staunchly committed to environmental stewardship. Members are required to comply with the association’s environmental vision, which includes many measures to ensure source sustainability and protection, water usage minimisation, energy efficiency, solid waste minimisation, and supporting post consumer recycling initiatives.
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