Highlands Investments, a licensed cultivator of high-quality GAP-certified cannabis, confirms that its facility in Kolojane, Lesotho has now also attained ISO 22000 certification.
ISO 22000 is a global Safety Management System; the certification shows that Highlands has a certified product safety management system in place.
“To be recognised as a world-class producer of certified cannabis, you need to demonstrate that your cultivation and production processes meet the highest quality standards,” says Mark Corbett – Managing Director, Highlands Investments.
“With ISO 22000 certification, Highlands is leading the way, not just for Africa, but globally in terms of its commitment to safety and quality management in the cannabis sector. This is exciting news for the African cannabis industry, and ultimately for our most important stakeholders, the consumers of the end-cannabis product, wherever in the world they may be,” Corbett says.
ISO 22000 a globally recognised food safety standard
Highlands embarked on ISO 22000 certification in 2020. Set by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), and checked by an official and authorised agency, ISO 22000 creates a single product safety standard that harmonises the various national standards into one easy-to-understand set of requirements, that are simple to apply and recognised around the world.
ISO 22000 maps out what an organisation needs to do to ensure that the product it produces is safe. It covers all the processes in the value chain that impact the safety of the end product including the management of systems, personnel, internal and external communication and hygiene principles.
As part of the ISO 22000 certification process, Highlands went through a series of audits; the second audit took place at Kolojane at the end of May 2021. Following this physical audit, all findings have been closed off and the final certification issued.
Meeting the stringent requirements of our customers
“As a business we have worked hard to anticipate requirements; not only of regulators, but also of partners, retailers, suppliers and investors and consumers. We want to ensure that anyone, anywhere that engages with Highlands or our product is assured of our quality standards,” Corbett says. “This has become even more important during the Covid-19 pandemic, as there has been limited opportunity to invite stakeholders to visit the Highlands facility in person for them to be assured of our quality processes and procedures.”
The standard specifies the requirements for a comprehensive management system, as well as incorporating the elements of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP). The standard can be used by all organisations in the supply chain from farming, processing, transportation and storage to packaging and retail.
“While we have always been committed to excellent standards, with the ISO 22000 we can ensure that there is no room for error, and easily communicate this commitment to everyone we engage with,” concludes Corbett.
High quality cannabis for medical cannabis products
In April 2020, we successfully harvested and processed 4 tonnes of high quality cannabis flower. The cannabis was dried, packaged and is being transported to companies around the world where it will be processed into medical cannabis products.
In November 2020, we planted 5 hectares of Cherry Wine CBD and 6 hectares of high THC from a variety of strains. In April 2021, we will harvest in excess of 10 tonnes of cannabis for sale across international markets.