Safe food – what does it actually involve?
Food safety is a prime concern for Rieber & Søn. We require quality at every stage, from the purchase of the raw materials from our suppliers until the products are on the shelves in the shops.
The consumers shall be able to prepare our products and enjoy the meal safe in the knowledge that we have a quality control system that ensures the safety and reliability of our products.
At Rieber & Søn it starts in the kitchen. Our chefs and product developers are very particular when it comes to selecting the raw materials to be used to prepare good food in line with the needs and trends that we see in the market. Only when they and our market managers are satisfied can the raw materials be purchased. This means that the suppliers must be approved, since all our suppliers must meet basic quality requirements. They must also expect to be visited by our inspectors for a review of the Groups’s quality control. The inspection covers production, environment, ethics, legislation, document control and – naturally – the products. Only ”approved suppliers” are good enough to supply Rieber & Søn.
Approved raw materials
Then it is the raw materials themselves. Our requirements relate to taste, appearance, hygiene (microbiology and pollutants), environmental toxins, heavy metals, gene modification, allergens and additives. Only when our requirements have been met in these areas can a contract be signed. On arrival, the goods are inspected and checked, and some are subject to more rigorous controls than others, depending on the category and the risk. They are only released for production when they are approved by our test laboratories.
Approved production plants
We mentioned ”quality at every stage”. Our production plants are run in accordance with quality regulations laid down by the authorities which tipulate that food which is produced and sold must not expose the customers to any kind of illness or risk. This also applies to buildings and equipment, personnel and visitors, cleanliness and hygiene: food safety shall be ensured at every stage. This is supplemented by our own guidelines which go beyond the minimum requirements. We comply with international food safety standards for the production and sale of food. Rieber & Søn has chosen a quality system which is in line with an ISO-standard with the designation ISO22000. Many of the plants already have a similar standard, but it has recently been decided that all of Rieber & Søn’s plants will comply with ISO22000. New inspections are carried out during plant production and before the products are distributed to ensure that we ourselves have made no mistakes along the way.
Customer communication and monitoring
Before the products are released in the market we monitor the information provided on product packaging and through other promotional activities. Communications shall be correct, honest, instructive and protective. If consumers wish to avoid specific ingredients, whether this be for medical, ideological or religious reasons, the list of ingredients shall provide satisfactory safety.
On occasion, inappropriate handling of products may occur during storage and transportation, within the trade and in the home, which requires us to recall goods that have already been distributed. To cover this eventuality we have procedures for close follow-up of consumers, liability in damages and contingency plans for recall. It also happens that new knowledge emerges and as a consequence raw materials which everyone thought were safe have to be subject to a new risk assessment. In such cases, action must be taken in cooperation with the trade, authorities and customers.
In order to keep updated on laws, regulation and the development of knowledge in our core areas, Rieber & Søn has chosen to have a close dialogue with local authorities and to participate in national and international food and drink associations/federations. Nationally, we meet other food producers in the countries where we have operations, while internationally we meet specialists from professional environments whose work is of specific relevance to our niche area in the food sector. When it comes to the reliability and safety of food, we do not compete but are concerned to ensure that we all maintain the highest standards. We recognise that what might affect one of us one day, could affect others tomorrow. This why we need shared competence.