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Maintaining our outstanding food safety record is a top priority. We provide comprehensive, ongoing training to our employees and our plants are certified for food safety standards by an internationally recognized third party. We know where every ingredient in every product originated and that it meets our high standards.

Training

Hormel Foods invests extensive time and resources developing comprehensive training programs for our employees. From the moment an employee is hired, he or she continues to receive ongoing, current and industry-specific food safety education relevant to everyday job responsibilities. This training includes Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Training, Better Process Control School, our own Quality Control University and additional job-specific training.

The company also provides training opportunities to key co-packers to ensure they are adhering to our strict safety standards. Additionally, a representative from the Hormel Foods research and development team serves on the Minnesota Governor’s Food Safety and Defense Task Force.

Read more about how we ensure food safety and quality in our 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report.

Product Safety Management

Objective oversight is an imperative process for Hormel Foods to ensure the highest food safety and quality standards in all areas of the company’s operations. This is done through an internationally recognized, third-party food safety management system, widely known as GFSI.

Hormel Foods had one of the first manufacturing facilities independently certified using GFSI-recognized food safety standards. Thirty-two of our sites (Hormel Foods and subsidiary locations) were certified by GFSI-recognized food safety management systems in 2016, which include the British Retail Consortium Global Standard for Food Safety and Safe Quality Food Institute. To receive this certification, these sites were audited against one or more food safety standards recognized by GFSI, which are overseen by accreditation and certification bodies.

Read more about how we ensure food safety and quality in our 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report.

Corporate Quality Assurance Management

Robust audits are conducted by experienced auditors who inspect every plant for HACCP, sanitation and quality.

In addition, all sites are subject to audits by credible outside agencies, whose auditors have completed certified trainings through various accreditation bodies. Accreditation sets certain certification requirements such as food safety management systems and HACCP.

Traceability

Our company has a meticulous traceability process in place. It goes from our ingredient suppliers to the production plant to the finished product and finally, to each customer. This intricate system relies on electronic systems and records to provide visibility into our supply chain. As an example, our detailed and thorough approach to traceability allows us to know the farm of origin for each hog that is processed daily at Hormel Foods plants throughout the country.

Quality control employees are trained to trace inputs. Each Hormel Foods manufacturing facility holds a quarterly unannounced test to assess “real-time” system product traceability capabilities. This process brings visibility into the system and allows us to make continual improvements to the system and overall process.

Labeling

Nutrition label panel accuracy is important to ensure our products are delivering the expected dietary needs of our consumers. We operate an ongoing internal nutrition label verification program to ensure all nutrition panel information is accurate. We also provide nutritional information on our product websites to give consumers easy access to this important product information.

All product labels are developed by our team of highly trained technical label experts. This team has decades of industry experience in label development in accordance with mandatory and voluntary labeling elements.

We manage our labeling and formulation controls through an integrated software system, which maintains profiles and specifications of all ingredients, as well as the associated suppliers. This system is designed to identify all allergens (e.g., milk, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish); sensitive ingredients (e.g., sulfate, MSG); country of origin; supplying plant location; date of purchase; nutrition information and other detailed specifications. All elements of this database are maintained through a working relationship with suppliers.

Packaging

Our packaging scientists determine the best packaging techniques for all of our products to ensure our food safety and quality standards. A variety of packaging materials and options are used, including modified atmosphere packaging (a USDA-approved process that doesn’t require chemical preservatives) and packaging designed for low-acid, shelf-stable foods.

As we prepare products to be sold, they undergo multiple stages, checks and balances. Our packaging scientists do a thorough review of products, taking into account the entire manufacturing process, as well as customer and consumer usage.

In addition, Hormel Foods is dedicated to developing the best packaging techniques for the environment. In an effort to prevent food waste, we have specifically designed and packaged a variety of products to limit the amount of wasted food, such as shelf-stable options and single-serving-size options. By 2020, we also hope to reduce our packaging by 25 million pounds to help limit landfill waste.

Conflict Minerals

None of our products contain conflict minerals. However, we have met with our key packaging suppliers, who are complying with the SEC Rule on Conflict Minerals, and have teams in place to continually review their due diligence processes.

Hormel Foods understands the issues associated with conflict minerals that originate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or an adjoining country. That’s another reason why we work with suppliers that share our values and support our Supplier Responsibility Principles. These principles outline our expectations for our suppliers within specific areas of corporate responsibility, such as human rights and safe work environment standards. More information about our Supplier Responsibility Principles and our corporate responsibility efforts can be found in our 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report.

Read more about food safety and quality in our 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report.