Gold'n Plump Poultry, the Midwest's largest fully integrated chicken producer, has achieved Safe Quality Foods (SQF) 2000 Level 2 Food Safety certification from the Safe Quality Foods Institute (SQFI). SQFI is a division of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI).
In the case of Gold'n Plump, certification was granted to all three of the company's processing facilities located in Cold Spring and Luverne, MN, and Arcadia, WI. Audits were conducted by a third-party, SQF-accredited certification body, Silliker Global Certification Group, a subsidiary of Silliker Group Corp.
The program provides independent certification that a supplier's food safety system complies with international and domestic food safety regulations.
"This has been a very intense, lengthy process, and it's taken a tremendous effort on the part of our people. It's been well worth it," says Steve Jurek, evp of operations for Gold'n Plump. "With consumer skepticism and uncertainty around the safety of the U.S. food supply, retailers and foodservice providers are looking for assurances from suppliers. It means peace of mind."
According to Jurek, the company had been operating under a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Plan since 1997. HACCP plans help prevent food safety breaches before they occur versus testing finished products to ensure adherence to standards. To become SQF 2000 Level 2 Certified, a company must prove to a third-party examiner that it consistently and successfully implements its HACCP plan. This also includes appointing onsite SQF "practitioners" at each production facility, the implementation of comprehensive training programs, and regular, ongoing audits. Overall, it assures that food is produced, processed, prepared and handled according to the strictest of standards.
Lexann Pryd-Kakuk, corporate relations manager, explains that HACCP and SQF are "nested" together, meaning the company's HACCP plan covers everything from raw materials (and assessing risk tied to those...including packaging) to steps throughout the process (until the product leaves our facilities) to proactively mitigate risk. "Generally speaking, SQF audits and certification entails verifying that we follow our HACCP...in essence, backing up our documented procedures through our actions," Pryd-Kakuk says.
"The values of ‘quality' and ‘process excellence' have been a big part of our company philosophy for a very long time, but more and more, customers are looking for tangible proof of a companies' values," says Jurek. "We're pleased to be able to provide that proof through SQF certification and further differentiate ourselves from other chicken companies."
Source: Gold'n Plump Poultry