JAPANESE CHINESE

Food Safety

Basic Approach

At the Maruha Nichiro Group, we work to supply safe quality food to customers and pursue food that customers can feel safe eating, by putting ourselves in the customer's shoes and considering the type of quality they are looking for. This approach comes from our Quality Assurance System based on our Group Philosophy and the Maruha Nichiro Group Quality Assurance Policy.

To that end, we take an array of measures, from product development to delivery to the customers, as well as in all the processes thereafter. At the same time, we provide employees with quality assurance training to raise the level of their knowledge and skills and heighten awareness about quality.

Medium-term Sustainability Management Plan (FY2018–2021)

Supply safe and secure foods

Medium-term Goal

Quality management system: Spread as appro-priate operations of Maruha Nichiro Group quality assurance regulations

FY2020

Action Plan (Key measures)

  • Implement PDCA activities about quality assurance and quality control as a whole group
  • Position design and development, raw material procurement, and human resource training as key themes and strive for continual improvement

Achievements

  • Review and revised proce-dures related to design and development and raw material procurement
  • Conducted training based on the Group’s common quality education and training rules, and promoted participation in training programs
FY2021

Action Plan (Key measures)

  • Provide explanations (notices, e-learning program, etc.) related to design and development
  • Conduct awareness-raising activities to ensure effective use of both internal and external training for quality education and training
Targets

Maruha Nichiro Group (Japan)

Department in charge

Quality Assurance Department, Maruha Nichiro Corporation

Medium-term Goal

Promote the acquisition of more certifications in globally-recognized food safety management and its effective operation

FY2020

Action Plan (Key measures)

  • Strengthen cooperation throughout the whole supply chain
  • Enhance factory inspections
  • Improve quality and hygiene control education systems

Achievements

  • Held meetings on quality assurance for management of partner factories in writing
  • Conducted factory audits in accordance with the factory auditing plan
  • Converted all quality assur-ance training workshops to e-learning programs and conducted them four times in total
FY2021

Action Plan (Key measures)

  • Consider the possibility of organizing a meeting on quality assurance for management of partner factories using a web conference system, etc.
  • Conduct (including remotely) systematic factory audits based on factory sanitation management standards
  • Consider and implement measures to raise the partici-pation rate in the quality e-learning program
Targets

Maruha Nichiro Group (Japan and overseas) and partner factories

Department in charge

Quality Assurance Department, Maruha Nichiro Corporation

Medium-term Goal

Maintain good factory environments and improve defense levels based on the Maruha Nichiro Group’s Food Defense Management Rules

FY2020

Action Plan (Key measures)

  • Enhance factory inspections
  • Continue with food defense management and education

Achievements

  • Remotely conducted food defense surveys and provided improvement guidance at the Group's production sites and partner factories
  • Conducted an e-learning program training on a partner factories -version of the food defense training sessions
FY2021

Action Plan (Key measures)

  • Carry out (including remotely) inspections of compliance with food defense management standards and provide guidance on improvements to the Group's production sites, logistics sites, and partner factories
  • Continue training sessions on Group food defense manage-ment standards
Targets

Maruha Nichiro Group (Japan and overseas) and partner factories

Department in charge

Quality Assurance Department, Maruha Nichiro Corporation

Quality Assurance Policy

To be a food brand that people trust, consistently offering safe products and reliable services should be the highest priority. The Maruha Nichiro Group maintains the Maruha Nichiro Group Quality Assurance Policy, which is rooted in the group philosophy.

Maruha Nichiro Group Quality Assurance Policy

  1. Comply with all laws and regulations in Japan, overseas, and globally
  2. Strengthen links throughout the supply chain and constantly raise the level of quality assurance
  3. Value communication with customers and proactively provide appropriate information
  4. Listen sincerely to the customer, value their opinions, and use this to improve our products, services, and corporate activities
  5. Implement quality assurance activities in line with Group regulations that are framed on international standards for quality management systems
  6. Help all employees improve their knowledge and technical abilities while raising awareness of quality

Management Structure

The Maruha Nichiro Group's quality assurance structure is organized with the Managing Executive Officers' Committee as the highest decision-making body for quality assurance issues. It is also in charge of setting and implementing necessary quality assurance policies and initiatives.

The Quality Assurance Committee deliberates quality issues and serves as an advisory body to the Managing Executive Officers' Committee. The Quality Assurance Department at Maruha Nichiro, the central company of the Group, serves as the focal point of the Group’s quality assurance, setting quality assurance policies, monitoring and improving quality management through audit and product data systems, collecting and reporting data for disclosure of quality information, and initiating employee training programs to increase quality awareness.

Responsible persons and persons in charge of quality assurance are appointed for each Company department and Group company to communicate information about Group policies and measures as well as to create and implement quality assurance plans and measures.

Quality Assurance Structure

Quality Assurance Structure

Inspection Systems

The Food Safety Group at Maruha Nichiro is dedicated to assuring the safety of the Company's food products based on scientific evidence. The Food Safety Group scientifically verifies the safety of Maruha Nichiro Group products and contributes to enhancing quality assurance in the following ways.

Testing Activities

The Food Safety Group has a comprehensive testing structure for microorganisms, agricultural chemicals, veterinary drugs, allergens, and other items important to assuring product safety.

The Group's microbe and agricultural chemical test laboratories have acquired ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation to further assure customers that the Group's inspections meet the highest international standards.

Providing Inspection System Maintenance and Technical Support at Food Manufacturing Sites

The Food Safety Group maintains and reinforces the Group-wide quality assurance system by working closely with inspection laboratories at the food manufacturing sites, providing audits and technical guidance for inspection systems, conducting quality control tests, helping address quality issues, and providing practical training.

Exploring and Developing New Analysis Technologies

The Food Safety Group is constantly researching and developing analysis technology that can quickly and accurately detect food poisoning bacteria, allergens, and other potentially hazardous substances.

Product Safety from Factory to Customer

Maruha Nichiro applies strict internal standards at every step of preparation and delivery to ensure the safety of all products.

Product Delivery Process Chart

Product Delivery Process Chart

Design and Development

Products are created using food materials that have been verified for safety. Manufacturing processes are regulated through multiple tests in the factory to ensure food safety during manufacturing, such as during food heating and cooling conditions, and are maintained to verify that product quality meets the Group's strict standards. All products carry the quality labeling as required by law and food product packaging provides clear ingredient lists and preparation instructions for customers.

Ingredient Procurement

Only Ingredients Verified as Safe, No Exceptions

We understand that the quality of ingredients impacts the overall quality of the product and select only ingredients verified as safe and that have clear documentation for who, where, and when the item was grown or manufactured.

Manufacture

Maruha Nichiro Group Sanitation Management Standards

The Maruha Nichiro Group has created its own Sanitation Management standards based on ISO 9001, ISO 22000, FSSC 22000, Global Markets Program, related laws, and quality management standards. The Company's standards apply to its directly managed manufacturing sites, Group companies, and contracted manufacturing sites.

Food Defense

The Maruha Nichiro Group has created its own Food Defense Management Standards and implements various hazard prevention measures to prevent intentional acts to harm the food supply, such as monitoring chemical agents and foreign content and improving employee communication.

Quality Testing Controls

Ingredient Management

- Acceptance Inspection
The Company verifies supplier quality certificates and test data for all ingredients.

Process Management

- Manufacturing Management
All manufacturing equipment is supervised by managers who have received general basic instruction and specialized training. The latest testing equipment is located in close proximity to food processing sites, and all managers participate in specialized technical training to augment their managing capabilities.

- Sanitation Management
Factory workers wear special clothing, hats, masks, and shoes and must pass regulatory checks before entering workrooms as part of measures to prevent contamination from microbes and foreign substances.

- Process Inspections
Process management includes inspections specifically designed for each type of food product. The Company has an extensive system of cameras and monitors enabling centralized monitoring for defective products within each process.

Product Management

- Product Inspections
Specially appointed quality management staff confirm the quality of each final product based on inspection standards and product specifications allow only products that have passed the inspections to be shipped.

- Traceability System
All data from the acceptance, processing, and product inspections as well as shipment conditions is recorded and archived to create a fully documented history for each product. We also conduct periodic "recall drills" to be fully prepared in case a quality issue or other type of problem occurs to ensure we are always able to quickly and efficiently gather data on all processes from raw materials to final product.

Storage and Logistics

Maruha Nichiro Logistics carries out the Group's storage and logistics operations with quality control management based on the guidelines for ISO 9001 certification. The company provides comprehensive logistics services meeting client specifications at all stages from customs clearance to storage, transportation, and delivery.

Product Information Disclosure

Product Data Verification System

Maruha Nichiro has a certification system for managers to prepare product specification sheets showing specific basic information about the product, and managers that have completed a prescribed training program are authorized to prepare and review the spec sheets.

Product Data Disclosure

Maruha Nichiro makes its product data easily accessible to customers on its website, including nutritional information, manufacturing plant site and country, allergen information, and the source location of main ingredients.

Main Initiatives in FY2020

Education and Training on Quality for Employees

In FY2020, a total of more than 2,000 employees from the Maruha Nichiro Group participated in training. These sessions included seminars covering the topics of food labeling (12 times), quality control (3), food defense (3), FSSC22000 internal auditor training (4), food bacteria training (6), skills training for food bacteria inspectors (1), practical inspection skills training for bacteria inspectors (1), customer service training (4), customer feedback monitoring training (2), and inspection report preparation training (2).

In FY2020, group training was made difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, we strived to continue providing access to skills training for employees by utilizing e-learning and teleconference systems. This made it easier for participants to adjust their schedules, resulting in a larger number of participants than previous years. We will continue to use e-learning and teleconference systems for training going forward even after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic to maintain and improve the level of education and training accessible to employees.

Results of FY2020 Quality Assurance Training

Type of training  Total sessions Participants
Food label training (producing universal, frozen food, shelf-stable food, seafood, livestock product, and create product specifications)  12 times 304 ppl
Quality management workshops (factory hygiene management) 3 times 365 ppl
Food defense workshops 3 times 174 ppl
FSSC 22000 internal auditor training (introductory training, skill advancement training)  4 times 157 ppl
Food bacteria training 6 times 735 ppl
Skills training for food bacteria inspectors  1 time 37 ppl
Practical inspection skills training for food bacteria inspectors 1 time 3 ppl
Customer service training 4 times 130 ppl
Customer feedback monitoring training 2 times 51 ppl
Customer service training 2 times 85 ppl

Education and Training on Quality and Research

Enhance Factory Inspections

In FY2020, the COVID-19 pandemic greatly restricted people’s movements. As a result, we actively employed remote audits using a communications app to conduct factory inspections normally performed in-person at our manufacturing sites. This allowed us to maintain and improve our food safety and food defense by responding flexibly to the situation of the pandemic.

Looking ahead, we are examining ways to increase the accuracy of remote audits and strengthen our factory inspection and guidance structure to enable flexible responses to environmental changes.

Status of Remote Audits by the Maruha Nichiro Corporation Quality Assurance Department
Status of Remote Audits by the Maruha Nichiro Corporation Quality Assurance Department

Stakeholder Voice

Xiaojun Chen (Right), Lei Sun (Left)

Xiaojun Chen (Right)

Corporate Advisor

Lei Sun (Left)

Chief Dalian Branch, Maruha (Shanghai) Trading Corporation

Confirming the hygiene management situation through Q&A and reporting by the manufacturing line at certified factories using a communication

Both myself, Chen Xiaojun, and Sun Lei of Maruha (Shanghai) Trading Co., Ltd.’s Dalian Branch each studied Maruha Nichiro's unique quality control methods, food defense standards, and plant auditing methods for one year in 2017 and 2019, at the Head Office Quality Assurance to conduct plant inspections and provide guidance at partner factories in China with the aim of continuing to produce safe and reliable products. In particular, in learning the methods of plant auditing, we learned a lot from the advice given to us, such as the difference in perspective between the person in charge of auditing and on-site managers, and about the angles from which to look for problems.

Looking Ahead

The Maruha Nichiro Group will continue to strengthen its quality assurance structure through the further expansion of customer support functions and fostering of specialized human resources in food safety and quality assurance.