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FOOD SAFETY

quality-food

We manufacture food that is not only great tasting, but also meets the highest standards of safety. In addition to customer requirements, the Group is subject to extensive food safety regulations and, where required, governmental monitoring where we operate.

At Bakkavor we use Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (“HACCP”) principles to identify any potential food safety risks and ensure they are effectively controlled when developing and manufacturing its products. These procedures form the backbone of Bakkavor’s Quality Management Systems and Standards. In total, Bakkavor employs almost 700 food safety professionals.

Sites are audited regularly, often on an unannounced basis, by internal food safety experts, customers and independent bodies for compliance with food safety standards.

In the UK, as well as having food safety experts at each of our sites, we have a dedicated central technical team overseeing operations. The team comprises in excess of 60 colleagues, and are experts in microbiology, chemistry, produce, pesticides, process innovation and all aspects of designing and maintaining chilled food factories to the highest standards.

In the UK, Bakkavor conducts over 1,500 in-house microbiology and chemistry tests every day. It is this detailed approach that ensures that all 23 of the Group’s UK manufacturing sites hold certification at 'AA+' or 'A+' grade against the British Retail Consortium Global Standard – Food Safety.

In the US, we ensure that our facilities adhere to the highest food safety standards set by institutions including US Food Safety, USFDA and USDA.

In China, we passed the American Institute of Bakery Audit, a very high food safety standard in the bakery industry. Our site in Hong Kong gained accreditation in of their HACCP plan and certification against ISO22000, a Food Safety Management System Certification by the International Organization for Standardization.

Nutrition

As a leading food producer, we recognise the significant role we can play in shaping food habits and behaviours. We support the growing trend for healthy, convenient food, and through our insight and innovation capabilities, we do our utmost to provide consumers with nutritious and fresh food choices that help support a healthy lifestyle.

Together with our customers we are responding to healthy eating trends by reviewing salt, sugar and saturated fat levels in our food. This includes introducing new healthy food options including several well-publicised and successful vegan ranges and products.

In 2021, of our UK product portfolio:

  • 50% of our product ranges are vegetarian and almost one in five (19%) are plant-based.
  • 83% of our products are already compliant with the Food Standard Agency’s salt reduction targets for 2024.
  • More than 60% of our products are healthier options as defined by the UK’s Department of Health UK Nutrient Profiling Model.
  • Over 400 of our products contain at least one of the recommended five portions of veg portion and we’re working hard to increase the veg content in our product ranges

INGREDIENT INTEGRITY

Our success in continuing to deliver products of the highest quality to our customers is built on trust and our ability to consistently deliver high standards of raw material integrity and traceability.

Our Food Safety and Integrity approach aims to minimise the risks of unauthorised or unsafe food ingredients entering the Bakkavor manufacturing chain.

Also known as ‘food fraud’, our strategic approach relies upon intelligence gathering from a variety of sources; verification processes that include laboratory analysis, traceability checks and audits of materials where claims are made; and a governance process that includes supplier audits or investigations, to manage the variety of materials we source from across the world.

Regular audits and trace exercises play a strong role in helping us to monitor the integrity of our ingredients. Where testing is available, the raw materials are analysed at specialist accredited laboratories. Supply chain traceability is also used to verify the authenticity of specific materials. 2021 saw us almost double the number of traceability checks and tests conducted compared to 2020.

Where we identify high risk ingredients, we work directly with our suppliers to understand their control systems, share best practice and reduce the risks of fraud and adulteration in the global supply chain. Where our analysis or trace procedures identify irregularities, we take rapid action to implement control measures and ensure corrective actions are robust and sustainable, to improve the supply chain visibility and integrity.

In 2021, we increased our emphasis on horizon scanning to help identify where potential issues in the supply chain may impact Bakkavor. Through our Fera Horizon Scanning system and information through our membership of the Food Industry Intelligence Network (FIIN), along with other sources, we are able to access relevant data and intelligence on issues related to food safety and integrity. We share some of this information with our suppliers to alert them to potential risks in the supply chain and put in place appropriate controls to manage the risks.

In 2021, 16 alerts have been issued to our suppliers. Alerts are issued where a tangible threat from a raw material may be linked with Bakkavor product, supply chain or country of origin. Alerts are coordinated through our Central Technical team, where actions or responses from suppliers are tracked.

Through our horizon scanning system, we also became aware of an emerging food safety trend across the globe with the detection of ethylene oxide in food stuffs. Ethylene oxide is used as a chemical sterilant for the medical industry and is banned for use in foodstuffs in the EU and UK.

In 2021 we saw a dramatic increase in alerts for this substance in materials ranging from sesame seeds to spices, locust bean gum and xanthan gum amongst others and originating from countries including India and China, Turkey and the EU.

We made relevant suppliers aware of the trends and working collaboratively with those effected, we were able to divert materials from the countries of origin affected and find alternate materials where necessary so that no instances of ethylene oxide reached our sites.

In addition, we support The National Food Crime Unit (NFCU). The NFCU launched an online Food Fraud Resilience Self-Assessment Tool in April 2021 which Bakkavor completed and reviewed with the NFCU in May. We now have a joint meeting with the NFCU liaison team on a quarterly basis to share intelligence on issues affecting the food industry in England.

Sustainable Product Development