Chew on this: In the recent 12 months there have been more than 600 food recalls in the U.S. and Canada. Many of these are brought on by foreign object contamination such as metal fragments, plastic or glass. In fact, Kellogg’s recently issued a recall for boxes of Special K Red Berries cereal due to possible glass shards. Nestle pulled Lean Cuisine mushroom ravioli (500,000 dishes!) off the shelves when three customers reported finding glass in their food. Clearly, food processing and packaging can be a pretty dicey business. These stories reflect what can happen when hazardous objects, bacteria or nasty chemicals find their way into food packaging.
Today’s food processing and handling facilities face many challenges to food safety including lack of employee training, contamination of raw materials, poor plant and equipment sanitation and poor plant design and construction. In fact, large retailers such as Wal-Mart and Costco are now requiring food-packaging companies to step up their efforts to protect consumers in what seems to be an increasing industry trend. They’re taking note of the numerous, complicated risks posed by food packaging, including food-borne illness and knowledge pathogens and investigating better detection capabilities, global supply chain issues, protection of reputation and reduced quality assurance costs.
This is where SQF comes in. Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification is a globally recognized level of food safety certification that’s rapidly capturing the attention of manufacturers and distributors of food.
“SQF provides a systematic approach to employee training, inspections, mandatory recalls, record access and administrative detention and product traceability,” explained GTI Industries QA Manager Manny Martinez. “GTI Industries undergoes a yearly audit of our food safety program that covers all aspects of the company—and we mean all—including procedures, protocols, recall and quarantine plans, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points and crisis management plans.”
Martinez added that this requires a daily commitment. “Within each of these plans are numerous standard operating procedures that are followed day in and day out by every employee to ensure that our facility remains safe for all of our food contact packaging that is stored within our premises,” said Martinez. As a result, food-processing companies are increasingly choosing GTI Industries for their food packaging needs because of these stringent protocols.
“This level of third party certification allows GTI the ability to stay within the necessary guidelines that are required for customers who are SQF certified or those who are looking to get certified,” Martinez added.
This is just one more reason why GTI is the leader in packaging within our region. We are not only the trusted primary source to those in the food industry, but we have the safety records to back it up. The proof … is in the pudding (if it comes in our packaging).