Tata Steel’s Trostre tinplate mill in South Wales has been awarded the highest food packaging standard rating following an unannounced two-day audit.
The mill gained an AA+ rating from the BRCGS (Brand Reputation through Compliance Global Standard), as part of its annual external accreditation for food-safe packaging material.
The certification propels the Llanelli packaging site into a select group of premier suppliers to the global food industry.
Howard Saxty, food packaging standards quality specialist at Tata Steel Trostre, said although the mill was at the end of the steel-making process, it was the start of the canmaking and filling process.
He said: “We must demonstrate to auditors that the tinplate we process is safe enough to make the tins that hold safety critical ingredients including baby formula — so compliance with the most stringent of packaging food safe standards is non-negotiable.
“The steel packaging material doesn’t get cleaned after it has left our site, so it simply has to be food safe before it heads out the door.”
The mill had achieved the AA rating in previous years, but agreed to unannounced audits in which auditors are able to turn up at any time during a four-month window, with just 20 minutes’ notice.
Gemma Finn-Lewis, Tata Steel’s product and process development manager, said the mill was confident in its day-to-day food safety culture and procedures: “This is the most stringent, comprehensive audit we can do,” she said. “While customers expect this standard, very few businesses have the confidence to move to unannounced audits, so this really elevates us to an elite level and gives us a competitive advantage over other suppliers.”
Works manager Joe Gallacher added: “Certification is critically important as it provides the business with a licence to operate in the food packaging industry — quite simply: no certificate, no food packaging customers.
“This prestigious certification could not have happened were it not for the sustained professionalism displayed across every team, at every level.”
Trostre, which upgraded its continuous annealing line last year, had to show its compliance with food safety culture to be awarded the AA+ rating from the highly regarded BRCGS certification.