MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills, Inc. invested $14.4 million on food safety in fiscal 2018, down from $15.2 million in 2017 and $16 million in 2016. The company in its 2019 Global Responsibility Report issued earlier this month said 7.6% of its essential capital investment in 2018 went toward projects related to food safety.

“Food safety leadership is a differentiator for General Mills, but not an area of competition,” the company said in the report. “We freely share our best practices and emerging areas of concern, as well as collaborate with industry peers and regulators to help raise standards industrywide.”

General Mills has a legacy of food safety leadership, dating back to the 1950s when the company established a raw material vendor management program. In the 1970s the company developed food safety programs for quality engineers at production facilities, and in 1996 it pioneered allergen labeling on all products.

One of the food safety goals General Mills has set is to achieve Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification for all General Mills-owned facilities by 2020. Providing an update on the company’s progress toward that goal, General Mills said 84% of its company-owned facilities are GFSI certified, up from 82% in 2017. Additionally, 78% of co-production sites and 65% of ingredient supplier sites also are GFSI certified.

General Mills conducted 5 voluntary recalls in fiscal 2018, including some for the company’s snack bars, cereal, yogurt, and fat and tallow products. By comparison, the company conducted 9 recalls in 2017 and 10 recalls in 2016.

To help ensure the safety of the raw materials the company uses in its products, General Mills has expanded the number of supplier and co-producer audits it conducts globally. General Mills said it conducted 836 supplier audits and 98 co-producer audits in 2018, which compared with 917 and 62, respectively, in 2017. General Mills also said it trained more than 300 suppliers through supplier schools and webinars in 2018.

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