MINNEAPOLIS — When it comes to expanding its food safety leadership, General Mills, Inc. has set high standards for prevention, quality and investment. The Minneapolis-based company said in its 2016 Global Responsibility Report issued April 13 that it spent $13 million on food safety during 2015.
“Keeping food safe in a global economy poses challenges,” General Mills noted in the report. “Public awareness around food safety increased in the aftermath of high-profile incidents of tainted food, such as peanut butter in the U.S. and baby food in China. While those incidents were unrelated to General Mills, we know that consumers want assurance that the food we provide is safe.”
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 1980, the company established a food safety regulatory affairs role, and in 1996 it pioneered allergen labeling on all products.
The company continues to emphasize and invest in training focused on sanitation and sanitary design principles. In 2015, the Sanitation Center of Excellence piloted a video training format to reach more people around the world. The video content was translated into four languages to provide more effective, consistent training to all General Mills production facilities.
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 72% of its company-owned facilities are GFSI certified. Additionally, 75% of co-production sites and 49% of ingredient supplier sites also are GFSI certified.
“The certification of General Mills’ facilities is an additional assurance that our existing, robust food safety systems continue to evolve and improve,” the company said.
Employee training on food safety issues is a constant for General Mills. During fiscal 2015, the company said it conducted training sessions that were attended by 186 participants from 13 countries.
“These sessions help improve our ability to identify and fix issues, as well as prevent food safety problems from occurring,” General Mills said.
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. The company conducted more than 800 supplier audits and more than 150 co-producer audits in 2015 and trained more than 50 suppliers through supplier schools and webinars during the year.For the full report, click here.