Firm wins certifications-A A +A
Monday, January 28, 2013
A LOCAL player in the fruit processing industry has passed international standards for food manufacture, boosting its plans of reaching more buyers abroad.
M. Lhuillier Food Products Inc. (MLFPI), a fruit processing company founded in 1989, was awarded the certifications for complying with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) System on Friday in Lahug, Cebu City.
MLFPI marketing officer Divine S. Bantilan said preparations for the certification took almost a year and after they applied for it in November 2012, they were certified the next month.
The GMP and HACCP certifications, which are valid until Dec. 16, 2015, are so far the most significant for MLFPI, she said, in addition to food safety certifications previously acquired from the Natural Products Association (NPA). The company’s products
have also been certified as halal.
Rising demand for dried fruit
With most of their clients, especially in the US and Europe, inquiring if MLFPI is internationally certified, the next step for the company is to level up its certifications to reach a wider export market, said MLFPI general manager Perry Ong.
In January to June 2012, the Philippines exported US$764.50 million worth of processed food, an increase of 9.65 percent over the comparable period in 2011, the Department of Trade and Industry reported.
There’s room for growth in dried fruit exports. Of the total processed food receipts, dried fruits accounted for US$71.28 million in the first half of last year, which was 12.42 percent higher than export sales generated in the same period in 2011.
After GMP and HACCP, the company will work on their application for certification by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 22000, a global standard in food safety management.
Ong clarified that although their products are available in domestic outlets, these are directed to tourists. Exports to 11 countries translate to about 70 percent of their total sales.
Bantilan added they are eyeing an increase in market share in the US and Europe, and are encouraged by their positive reception in the United Kingdom and Germany.
Accounting for 40 percent of export receipts, Japan is MLFPI’s biggest market, followed by the US, Singapore and Malaysia.
Thailand is the country’s leading competitor, able to produce dried products that are 40 to 50 percent cheaper. But Ong is confident that maintaining the unique quality of local mangoes and banking on hygienic standards will continue to be MLFPI’s edge over the competition.
At the ceremony held in the family-owned Pino restaurant, MLFPI proprietors Michel and Amparito Lhuillier expressed their gratitude for the certifications.
Michel said he is optimistic that with GMP and HACCP’s certifications, it will be easier for MLFPI to channel products worldwide.
The company has around 8,200 employees.
MLFPI concentrates at present on dried fruit products, including mangoes, coconut, soursop, papaya, tamarind, jackfruit, melon, and pineapple.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 29, 2013.