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Jamaica macaroni producer targets global certification

An employee of the factory packs bags of spiral macaroni in boxes.

An employee of the factory packs bags of spiral macaroni in boxes.

KINGSTON — Jamaica Macaroni Factory Limited, local manufacturer of macaroni products, is moving towards Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points certification.

“It’s part of growing and becoming more efficient,” said James Chen, the company’s managing director, about the certification process which began in 2010 .

“We’ve had some assistance from the European Union through the Caribbean Export Development Agency,” said Chen of the ‚30,000 grant which contributed to them addressing lighting issues, retrofitting their loading dock and creating architectural plans for a finished goods warehouse. This grant represented 50 per cent of these costs.

HACCP certification is an international food safety standard used to regulate food manufacturers. It will soon be mandatory for all Jamaican food exporters to the United States.

But Chen said it’s not cost effective for him to compete in the American macaroni industry, as they have better economies of scale. He said receiving this certification engenders greater trust with his local clients.

“Having that will certainly make your customers more confident in your ability to produce, to quality standards,” said Chen, who explained that aside from being monitored locally by the Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce and the Bureau of Standards Jamaica. They are also randomly audited by their business customers.

Established in 1967, the factory produces macaroni products for approximately 10 other local brands including Grace, Lasco and Ramson’s as well as their own in-house brand Marco Polo. The macaroni products include macaroni elbows, shells, spirals, macaroni and cheese dinners and longer varieties to include macaroni sticks, lasagne noodles, fettucini and spaghetti. (Gleaner)

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