Our Company’s enduring commitment to food safety and quality assurance is rooted in the vision and values of our founder, Henry John Heinz, a pioneer in the packaged foods industry who was a prominent original advocate for the adoption of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906.
As the “Pure Food Company,” Heinz has manufacturing and food safety practices and processes that are designed to ensure that our food products meet stringent quality and safety specifications.
Our food safety accomplishments in Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 include:
- Exceeding our global quality improvement goals for factories and co-packers applying our best-in-class Quality Risk Management Processes
- Expanding our global quality management system throughout our supply chain, including suppliers, factories and co-packers
- Sharing best practices with our Emerging Markets businesses to drive consistently high food safety standards around the world. These best practices have been developed in markets like the United States and Europe, where Heinz has a long and distinguished track record of food safety.
Our strong performance in the area of food safety reflects our comprehensive management approach. At Heinz, Food Safety and Quality Assurance processes are integrated into our Office of Risk Management and Enterprise Reputation and Risk Management function. The Company uses two risk assessment tools that highlight potential risk associated with each ingredient that we buy and categorize our suppliers based on risk.
Our Quality Risk Management Process is applied to our factories and co-packers.
Our Supply Chain Quality Management Process identifies and highlights potential risks throughout the supply chain so that we may take preventive or precautionary action as needed.
Quality Risk Management Process
The globally adopted Quality Risk Management Process (QRMP) gives us an index of how well we are controlling food safety and quality assurance in our factories. This process is based on internal and externally recognized quality standards, including ISO 9001, ISO 2200 and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, a food safety risk assessment process focused on controlling biological, chemical and physical hazards within the food chain.
QRMP is designed to continually reduce food safety risks, identify and share best practices, and measure all Heinz facilities against a global common standard. It also defines gaps, establishes improvement plans and strives for excellence and long-term targets as part of a continuous improvement process.
Importantly, this process defines operational and system standards that all facilities are expected to achieve. It utilizes a scoring system that establishes and weighs more than 40 critical categories of the quality and safety systems and takes into account the effectiveness of that control system. Each factory assessment is completed by independent third-party auditors or Heinz staff. The results of the assessment generate a score called the Risk Control Rating, an indication of how effectively each site is managing and controlling its risks.
A site-specific improvement plan is created at each facility based upon its current Risk Control Rating scores and target goals. Progress is tracked monthly to ensure actions will deliver the anticipated final result.
In Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011, all Heinz-owned and operated facilities around the world were assessed against this standard to enable us to measure the improvements in our quality performance.
We are using QRMP to drive consistent best practices at our factories and co-packers. This process is a proactive quality management system that coordinates and directs activities at our factories and co-packers to control food safety hazards. In order to continually improve each plant’s performance, a risk-based, prioritized improvement plan is developed every year for each facility.
Supply Chain Quality Management
To identify and address potential food safety issues in our supply chain, our global Supply Chain Quality Management Process mitigates the risk associated with each ingredient that we buy and also categorizes our suppliers based on risk. Heinz has a highly trained team of supplier auditors around the world that consistently enforces Heinz quality and food safety standards. We also provide training and measure supplier compliance with our processes. As part of this process, raw materials and ingredients that we purchase from suppliers are covered by a written specification that is signed by the supplier. Our goal at all times is to maintain compliance levels at 100%.
To further ensure food safety, Heinz utilizes an online global database that enables us to control the specifications of raw materials and ingredients that are purchased from suppliers and used in manufacturing our products. The database is continually updated and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It enables Heinz to maintain critical information on the qualifications and performance of suppliers.
Our Global Quality Management System tracks food safety requirements, helps to ensure that necessary records are maintained and enables us to monitor the quality and safety performance of factories and suppliers. At the end of Fiscal Year 2011, Heinz had approximately 5,000 suppliers that provided packaging and ingredients to Heinz and our 81 Company-owned factories, as well as 300 co-packers.
- Heinz co-developed Food Radar with the University of Stockholm. This technology detects low density foreign matter that is usually undetectable by X-ray methods. Heinz is the first food manufacturer to pilot this technology. We are in the process of installing this technology in all of our wet baby food facilities.
- Heinz developed Oasis, a program where we monitor and control the integrity of our agricultural ingredients from the field to the factory. In addition to conducting rigorous testing, we work with farmers to ensure that crops, vegetables and fruits are grown and harvested in accordance with Heinz Good Agricultural Practices.
Case StudiesReflecting our strategic focus on accelerating growth in Emerging Markets, Heinz has also made progress in implementing quality management tools to identify best practices and transfer this knowledge to our factories in Emerging Markets. This has resulted in significant improvements, as measured by our Global Quality Management System, at our factories in India, South Africa and Venezuela, for example.
- Our Global Quality Management System is focused on risk management and control. For instance, in factories that use glass containers it is vital that we eliminate risks of glass contamination in our products. To achieve that goal at our San Joaquín facility in Venezuela, we implemented a zero-tolerance program in an effort to eliminate glass hazards throughout the factory.
- A key food safety concern in the packaged food industry is foreign matter contamination. To reduce this risk, we have installed advanced X-ray technology to detect the potential presence of foreign matter, especially in foods intended for infants. Our infant-feeding factories in China are using this state-of-the-art technology to enhance food safety.
- Heinz factories participate in “5S,” a program that drives good housekeeping and safe manufacturing processes. This program stresses clean, sanitary and uncluttered work areas to enhance employee safety, productivity and food safety.
- Heinz recognizes the importance of reducing the risk of spoilage and cross contamination. We place great emphasis on cleaning and sanitation regimes in our factories and warehouses to mitigate these risks. Heinz is in the process of adopting boroscope technology at all of our tomato ketchup and sauce facilities so that we can visually inspect plant interiors to validate the effectiveness of our cleaning operations. Our Ketchup factory in Russia is using this technology to elevate its performance in this important area.
- To prevent cross-contamination at our factories, Heinz clearly identifies ingredients that contain allergens and physically segregates these materials in our warehouses. Labeling errors are another common source of cross contamination. To reduce this potential risk, Heinz has installed electronic detectors to alert us to the presence of rogue packs on the line.
Although Heinz has stringent standards and global processes to ensure a high level of quality and food safety, we recognize there are rare instances when potential issues may occur. To ensure the safety of consumers, which is our highest priority, Heinz is committed to taking swift and appropriate action, as needed. This action may include voluntary product recalls or withdrawals when a potential issue has come to our attention.
In Fiscal Year 2010, Heinz initiated four voluntary recalls involving approximately 4,000 cases. There were no reported injuries associated with the use of these recalled products. In Fiscal Year 2011, there were no public recalls.