G. Shankerdas & Sons, producer of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in the country, on Saturday February 22 received accreditation and ISO certifications for maintaining standards and quality in its products.
The company, which is celebrating 75 years since the launching of its operations in the country in 1939, is the first Sierra Leonean water bottling company to receive ISO 22000 accreditations for “Food Safety Management System”.
Having its own in-house chemical and microbial testing laboratory, G. Shankerdas & Sons also boasts of the first laboratory in the country to be accredited with ISO 9001 and 17025 accreditations for “quality management system and best laboratory practices”.
Briefing journalists at the Bintumani Hotel conference hall last Saturday on the launch of the ‘International Organisation for Standardisation Certification of G. Shankerdas & Sons (ISO 17025, ISO22000 & ISO 9001)’, General Manager of the company, Dr. Kishore Shankerdas, said it was a sense of national pride for a Sierra Leonean manufacturing unit to be certified for globally acceptable food safety quality and for its management.
“This has been achieved through the company’s undeterred commitment to provide ‘quality with affordability’ to the people of Sierra Leone,” he said, adding that the ISO certification process was guided by an international consultant and trainer, Dr. Ajay Desai. “The accreditation and certification was done by lead auditor, Srinivas Rao of BSCIC Certification Pvt. Ltd. (Australia, New Zealand and Dubai UAE).”
Dr. Shankerdas said the company is also involved in agriculture and the manufacturing of plastic products and candles, among others, and that in all their products, they go for excellence.
G. Shankerdas & Sons, he added, is also working on a plan to acquire ISO 14001 certification for environmental management system and OHSAS 18001 for safety, among others.
“I stopped drinking alcohol for 31 years now but every morning, I task myself to tasting all our products, including Pega Pak Gin. This is to ensure that I don’t sell to the public products which my children and I can’t drink,” said Dr. Shankerdas. “We do test our products locally and in Europe because we want to be the best in the business.”
Chief Director in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ahmad Akar, said his ministry does regular visits to the Shankerdas facilities and that his minister, Alhaji Usman Boie Kamara, was impressed with the operations of the company.
He said G. Shankerdas & Sons is providing medical care for thousands of Sierra Leoneans and that the government is pleased with the company’s contribution to the development of the country.
Executive Director of the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau, James S. Dumbuya, said his department has done a number of samples of the company’s products and that all have been certified to be perfect.
He said the Bureau hopes to continue collaborating with the company to ensure all products it is producing locally are fit for human consumption. He added that the Standards Bureau has its own laboratory and that they are currently engaged in a proficiency testing scheme.