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PRODUCT CERTIFICATION SCHEME FOR TEA (PCST)

RULES AND PROCEDURE FOR APPLICANTS

Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) in association with the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) operates a Product Certification Scheme to certify the manufacturing process and the final product, i.e. Black Tea.   The scheme is based on applicable standards (Sri Lanka Standard SLS 135:2009; Specifications for black tea and ISO 3720:1986; Black tea- Definition and basic requirement) and the connected Tea Board regulations. SLSI – SLTB: Product Certification Scheme for Tea (PCST) is designed to meet the specific needs of the tea plantation sector and to provide an internationally recognized third party guarantee to customers. SLSI - SLTB Product Certification for Tea (PCST) is therefore comprehensive and it includes the following;

•    Applicable Tea Board Regulations & Sri Lanka Tea Board Standards/ Guidelines for Sri Lankan Origin Tea.
•    Sri Lanka Standard SLS 135:2009; Specifications for black tea and ISO 3720:1986; Black tea- Definition
•    Industry related code of Practices:
(SLS 1315: 2007; Code of practice for Tea Industry - Part 1& Part 2)

This scheme is essentially voluntary in nature, and is largely based on ISO/ IEC Guide 17065: 2012; General requirements for bodies operating product certification systems, which provides general rules for third party certification of determining with standards through initial testing and assessment of a factory Quality Management system and its acceptance followed by surveillance that takes into account the factory Quality Management System and the testing of sample from the factory and the open market.

The scheme is centered around essential elements of the Quality Management System combined with additional requirements on process control and product testing as specified in the relevant standards along with applicable legal requirements.

SLSI - SLTB Tea Product Certification Scheme operates in an impartial, non discriminatory and transparent manner to provide third party guarantee of quality Black Tea to the ultimate customer.

1.0    APPLICATION FOR CERTIFICATION

1.1    Any  manufacturer  who  is  interested in obtaining the Product Certification Scheme for Tea (PCST) shall obtain  the  required  set  of   application  forms  from  the  Sri Lanka Standards Institution- SLSI (Contact point), by making a payment of LKR 2000.00.

1.2    The application form and other necessary documents such as Guidelines, Rules and Procedures, the fee structure, the condition of the use of the Tea product Certification mark are available for purchase at the SLSI Head Office, No.17, Victoria Place, Elvitigala Mawatha, Colombo – 08.

1.3    Any Manufacturer who wishes to obtain the TPC shall submit properly completed prescribed application form to SLSI/ Contact point along with a Manual detailing out the policies established as per SLS 1315:2007 and other applicable documents.

1.4    Applicants having more than one manufacturing/processing unit located at different places and separately managed shall submit separate applications for each establishment.

1.5    The application shall be accompanied with an application processing fee as stipulated in the “Fee Structure”.

1.6    Application fee and application processing fee are non-refundable.

2.0    ADEQUACY AUDIT

2.1    SLSI will appoint a competent and impartial auditor to evaluate the applicants’ manual for its adequacy against the applicable standard and other connected documents.

2.2    Manual of the company shall consist of Scope of the process, policy of PCST, Objectives of the company, HACCP plan & the process flow diagram for each product, Control of Documents and Records Responsibility and Authority, Non-Conforming Products, Corrective Action, Management Review, Training, Calibration and the requirements addressed in the relevant standards

2.3    A detailed report is sent to the applicant highlighting deficiencies in the documented system for correction.

3.0    ON-SITE ASSESSMENT

3.1    On-Site assessment is scheduled when the applicant confirms readiness after the completion and submits the corrective actions to the institute, for the deficiencies raised in the Manual. 

3.2    Prior to the On-site Assessment, the Audit Plan and the details of the Audit Team are sent to the applicant for approval. Selections of number of auditors depend on the size and sites of the organization.

3.3      The applicant  is  free  to raise objections to the audit plan and to the
inclusion of any member in the audit team giving reasons.

3.4        The audit shall be carried out on mutually agreed dates between the applicant and the Institute.

3.5       The   audit   team   performs   a   thorough   audit   to   ascertain   whether        all requirements in the manual and specified standards have actually been identified and addressed.

3.6    Upon completion of the audit, the audit team submits a detailed report on non-conformities observed.

3.7    During the audit, the team shall draw tea samples in duplicate from tea batches or families according to the sampling procedure.  One sample is tested against all the parameters specified in Sri Lanka Tea Board Standards/Guidelines for tea. The other sample is tested for specified parameters as identified in the Sample Procedure.

4.0    CORRECTIVE ACTION AND FOLLOW UP AUDIT

4.1    The applicant shall propose corrective actions for all non-conformities raised during the on-site assessment.

4.2    Considering the nature and degree of non-conformities, the applicant shall propose the time required for implementation of corrective action.

4.3    The applicant shall confirm in writing that the corrective actions for the non conformities reported in the on-site assessment report are completed.

4.4    On receipt of confirmation by applicant, SLSI will confirm that the completed corrective actions are fully implemented, by reviewing the documents or with a follow up audit as appropriate.

4.6        In case of major non-conformities the applicant may agree with the audit team a time frame not exceeding two months to implement corrective actions  but the certification is recommended only after verifying the effectiveness of the action taken by the applicant through a follow-up audit.

4.7        The two samples drawn shall necessarily have to be in compliance with the relevant standard /other requirements.
In case of failures in the test report re-sampling will result. 

5.0    CERTIFICATION

5.1    On completion of a satisfactory result of on-site audit and satisfactory results of the samples, a summary report will be submitted to the SLTPCC for approval of granting certification.

5.2    Before awarding the certificate the applicant is expected to sign an agreement with SLTPCC, which includes conditions related to certification requirements.

5.3    Upon  approval  by the committee, a  Certificate alone with permit condition will be issued to the company which  is  valid  for  three (3) consecutive  years subject  to  compliance with the requirements of the scheme.

5.4    If any changes to the systems or processes are made within this three year period such changes shall be communicated to SLSI by the certificate holder.

5.5    The certificate holder shall agree with the Institute on a surveillance audit schedule.  These audits are usually conducted once in a twelve month interval.

5.6    The scope of the periodic audits are predetermined.  Each part of the process and system will be audited at least once during the validity period of the certificate.

5.7    Samples will be drawn during each surveillance audit and tests will be done for the relevant parameters as stipulated in Sri Lanka Tea Board Standards/Guidelines for tea at a laboratory authorized by SLTPCC. 

5.8    SLSI does not intend to make surprise visits to the premises of certificate holder.  But reserves the right to do so with short notice depending on the outcome of the operation and/or if the holder of the certificate informs SLSI of a significant change in the certified system and process. Failure in tested parameters may require a special audit and sampling, details of which will be agreed between the certificate holder and the Institute.

5.9    Fees for these audits will be charged at the prevailing rate.

6.0    RE- CERTIFICATION

6.1    Certificate will be renewed every three years (3) time from the date of issue of the Certificate. 

6.2    The decision for renewal will be based on the results of the re-certification of the whole process and test results of the sample.

7.0    COMPLAINTS

SLSI (Contact point), on behalf of the SLTPCC entertains complaints of certificate holders and any other interested party regarding the operation of the certification scheme.  All complaints shall be addressed to the Director General, SLSI on behalf of the SLTPCC in writing for consideration.

8.0    FEES

8.1    The fees payable by the applicant shall be determined by the SLTPCC and be revised from time to time without prior notice. The current fee structure is enclosed in this brochure separately.

8.2    All fees as determined as above in 8.1 and intimated to the company. The fees should be paid, in advance.


9.0    CONFIDENTIALITY

All information given by the applicant to the auditors during audits shall be treated as confidential. All staff involved in certification activities are required to sign a confidentiality agreement with the SLSI.

10.0    USE OF CERTIFICATION MARK

When certification is granted as stipulated in the above clause 5.0 the certificate holder is permitted to use the logo of PCST as per the conditions for the use of the mark.

11.0    MISUSE OF CERTIFICATION MARK

A Certificate holder shall not display, advertise or otherwise use the certification logo and the certification document after:

•    A lapse of registration, suspension or cancellation of Certification.

•    Introducing a change to the PCST which has not been accepted by SLTPCC and which could reasonably be expected to adversely affect the company’s PCST.

•    Failing to implement a change to the certification system issued by SLSI.

•    Any other circumstances which adversely affect the PCST.

In case of reduced Scope of Certification the company shall display or advertise only the amended scope.  

12.0    SUSPENSION OF CERTIFICATION

12.1    Certification shall be suspended under the following circumstances:

•    If any case of violation of the Sri Lanka Tea Board Law No. 14 of 1975 and its subsequent amendments, Tea Control Law No. 51 of 1957 and its subsequent amendments and related regulations which warrants the suspension / cancellation of the registration.

•    When the presence of a risk of a health hazard is revealed

•    If surveillance audit indicates a total breakdown of the PCST

•    Improper use of certification, certification document, symbol or logo and if it is not rectified to the satisfaction of the SLSI within an agreed period.

•    Any other contravention of the rules and regulations of this scheme

12.2    The certificate holder shall be informed of the suspension in writing under registered cover.

12.3    The suspension shall be removed and the company is notified accordingly, upon the correction of conditions leading to the suspension within the specified period.

12.4    The certification is cancelled and the certification document is withdrawn if the stipulated conditions of suspension are not rectified within the specified period of time.

12.5    In the case of suspension the client shall refrain from further promotion of its certification.

13.0    WITHDRAWAL/CANCELLATION OF CERTIFICATION

13.1    SLTPCC shall cancel the certification, withdraw the certification document and cancel any agreement for the use of Tea Product Certification Mark under the following circumstances.

a)    Any violation/s of provisions indicated in the clause 5.0

b)    If a Surveillance audit confirms the presence of major non-conformities and actions have not been taken effectively within two months period.

c)    At the request of the company to withdraw the certification.

d)    If the system rules are changed and the company either will not or cannot ensure conformance to new requirements.

e)    If the company ceases to supply the product or process stated in the certificate for a period exceeding six (6) months.

f)    When the certified company fails to meet financial obligations as specified by the SLTPCC.

g)    Failure to comply with any other requirements stipulated by the Certifying/ Governing authority (SLTPCC) under this scheme.

13.2    The cancellation shall be notified to the company by a registered letter and the SLSI shall publish the notification of the cancellation.

13.3    Failure to resolve the issues that have resulted in the suspension within a time established by the SLTPCC shall result in the reduction of the scope of certification.

14.0     CORRECTIVE ACTION

A certified company shall be responsible for taking prompt and adequate action to correct any contravention of the system rules, and for normally notifying the certifying authority of the corrective actions proposed or taken.

14.0    CHANGES TO THE CERTIFICATION SYSTEM RULES

In the event of any changes being required to the Tea Product Certification rules, the SLTPCC shall:

a)    Provide opportunity for the affected companies to submit comments on the proposed changes.

b)    Effective dates for the changes shall be fixed by mutual agreement to allow sufficient time for the company to amend their Tea Product Certification System.

16.0    PUBLICITY

16.1    SLSI and SLTB shall publish a directory of certified companies under this certificate scheme.

16.2    A certified company is entitled to:

•    Inform prospective customers, purchasers or purchasing authorities of the full and exact details of the certification.

•    Display the certification document.

•    Use of the Tea Product Certification Mark as specifically authorized.

17.0    APPEALS

17.1    If the certificate holder is not satisfied with the decision taken on PCST, the certification holder is eligible to appeal, in writing to the DG (SLSI) within 14 days of receipt of such decision.

17.2    The decision of the appeal committee on any such appeal shall be final and conclusive.

18.0    OBLIGATIONS

The certificate holder shall
•    Inform SLSI (contact point), promptly about any intended changes to the Product Certification Scheme for Tea, which may affect conformance to the requirements of the standard.

•    Communicate immediately about any changes to the scope of certification.

•    Permit to conduct witness audit by the accreditation body at any stage of the certification cycle when a request is made by the Institute.

•    Inform SLSI (contact point) promptly if the certificate holder becomes aware of a risk of or the presence of a health hazard.

•    Accept the SLTPCC decision as to whether intended changes require recertification or revalidation of the PCST.

•    Co-operate with the SLSI and SLTB in all activities related to the scheme.

•    Ensure that the audit team, comprising SLSI & SLTB auditors, is permitted and assisted to undertake the audit of the PCST and to collect relevant samples.

•    Pay all relevant fees as specified by the SLTPCC.

19.0    COMMUNICATION

19.1    Except in the case of appeals, all other communications relating to the PCST shall be addressed to either Director General, Sri Lanka Standards, No.17, Victoria Place, Elvitigala Mawatha, Colombo – 08 or Director General, Sri Lanka Tea Board, No. 574, Galle Road, Colombo 03.

19.2    In case of an appeal as per clause 17.0, such correspondence should be sent to Chairman, SLTPCC, Sri Lanka Tea Board, No. 574, Galle Road, Colombo 03, by registered mail.   












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