A north-west company has become the first aluminium foil container manufacturer in Europe to be awarded a new hygiene standard.


Certification was awarded after a comprehensive assessment of the company’s operating systems by IHC Ltd, who are auditors for QA International Certification Ltd.


The BRC/IOP technical standard establishes management procedures and standards to be used by packaging manufacturers supplying the food industry and retail grocery chains, including supermarket giants Sainsbury, Tesco and Safeway.


The Nicholl Food Packaging group, whose headquarters are in the West Midlands, last year became the largest producer of aluminium foil containers in Europe with the acquisition of its biggest competitor, Buckinghamshire-based Ekco Group.


Already an ISO 9001 accredited company, Nicholl, which has a turnover of £65 million, is the first European company to be awarded the new BRC standard.


The new mark – achieved at Nicholl’s Midland plants – is designed to become a single standard for the food industry.


The factory occupies the site of an old mill and more than £500,000 has been spent on refurbishment, updating plant and machinery, and implementing rigorous hygiene procedures.


The company, with six specialist production facilities including factories in Saint Vincent de Mercuze, France, and Seilles in Belgium, has a workforce of 400, many of whom were re-employed after being made redundant in 1997.


Commercial director Andrew Dent said: “The company has established both a quality management system and control procedures to guarantee the highest possible standards of hygiene which puts our business at the forefront of aluminium foil container manufacturer in Europe.


“This award demonstrates our commitment to achieving and maintaining these high standards.”


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Editor’s note: The British Retail Consortium is a trade association representing 90 per cent of the UK’s retail trade. The Institute of Packaging was established in 1947 as the professional membership body of the packaging industry to educate and train those involved in the industry.

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James Windle