Enlarging our knowledge base about processes and products for risk management
Companies that manufacture alimentary products have to abide by food safety regulations. Firstly, this refers to the statutory requirements, and secondly to the product safety requirements Van Geloven sets for itself. In view of the welfare and food safety risks, manufacturers in the meat sector are especially liable to scrutiny.
Production processes with a guarantee
Van Geloven distinguishes three different levels in order to guarantee quality. First of all, 15 basic conditions are assessed at each site. These are the ideal basic conditions for food production companies to manufacture products in a safe and reliable manner. They vary from cleaning and disinfecting, to staff and product information management. If the basic conditions are up to standard, this will create a sound foundation for quality. At Van Geloven, we are continually working on this at all our locations. In addition, each product has been incorporated into a HACCP plan (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points). Before introducing a new product or when making changes in existing ones, we collaborate with the HACCP team to carry out a hazard analysis for each stage of the process. At each stage of the process, we establish various risks (for example the chance of allergen contamination) and agree on control measures if necessary. Quality is guaranteed by daily inspections of production lines and testing raw materials, semi-finished products and end products. In addition to this, we have a quality management system to manage this approach to basic conditions and HACCP and to improve it wherever possible.
To ensure uniformity in the entire quality guarantee at all our locations, Van Geloven is analysing the best approach for each site in order to ultimately arrive at a coordinating quality structure that must be adhered to at all sites. Although there will of course continue to be a local system at each site, Van Geloven is still endeavouring to harmonise as many quality processes as possible and to incorporate them into one user guide. We are focusing more and more on enlarging knowledge of our own processes and products because this will enable us to respond even more adequately to risks. For example, we are increasingly confronted with external risks. That is why requirements relating to Food Defence and Food Fraud have been included in the IFS standard. The purpose of these requirements is to prevent deliberate contamination of products and to monitor the risks of ‘dirty tricks’ with products. Consider for instance a slaughterhouse that sold horse meat as beef. This enabled the slaughterhouse to command a much higher price, but it misled the customers. Or the origin of herbs and spices, for example ‘Spanish peppers’ that actually come from Mexico. Van Geloven analyses the risks, closes off the site, controls access, identifies and registers third parties such as visitors and suppliers. Food Fraud is also monitored with random DNA tests, for example.
Inspections carried out on suppliers have been stepped up since last year to enable us to analyse risks relating to these suppliers at an earlier stage. All risks relating to suppliers will be analysed by means of independent audits. In addition, the quality parameters for each type of raw material and packaging material supplied by third parties have been established in specifications in mutual agreement between Van Geloven and our suppliers. We exclusively accept raw materials and packaging materials that have been approved and use these in the production process. In addition, all our suppliers are assessed on quality, logistics and prices every year via a vendor rating system. The results of the audits carried out on our suppliers are used to raise our quality guarantee to an even higher level wherever possible and necessary, in collaboration with our suppliers.
Born, bred and slaughtered
In addition to risk analysis, Van Geloven intends to obtain greater clarity in the logistical raw materials supply chain. To this end, Van Geloven uses the ‘G001 form’ (this stands for ‘born, bred and slaughtered’) to examine the origin of each raw material. This enables us to trace the origin of incidents more quickly. Furthermore, an IFS (International Food Standard) quality audit is carried out at each location every year. This standard is predicated on ‘continuous improvement’ being a condition on which the quality system used is built. We are proud to say that each production site has been certified at ‘higher level’.
If consumers still have any problems relating to food safety after all this intensive care, Van Geloven’s customer service department is always available to receive and handle their complaints. A complaints analysis is carried out every month and used for optimisation and guidance purposes. ‘Continuous improvement’ is also the basic principle for this.