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British Retail Consortium Site of the Year

Our Hamilton, Ontario facility was recently named Site of the Year by a leading food safety standards body, reflecting our incredible and relentless journey to excellence.

By Matt Williams, Vice President, Manufacturing and Spir Marinakis, Vice President, Food Safety and Quality Assurance

The best successes are those that don’t come easily, that reflect dedication, effort, and long-term commitment. These are the most satisfying and rewarding.

That’s why we learned that our state-of-the-art, seven-year-old manufacturing facility in Hamilton, Ontario was recently named Site of the Year for the Americas by Brand Reputation Compliance Global Standards ( BRCGS), a globally respected food safety organization. and quality standards body, was so rewarding and deeply meaningful. In fact, our Hamilton plant bears the name “Heritage” because we manufacture hot dogs and sliced ​​deli meats under the brands that have made our company an icon, and the recognition of our food safety practices foods makes this name truly humble.

The most rewarding results are the ones that take the most effort, and we have certainly put a lot of effort into creating a world-class factory in Hamilton. Becoming a world-class factory was not easy; it came after years of hard work to ensure we had the people and processes in place to achieve our food safety goals. Like all new factories, we faced challenges to achieve the high standards we aspired to. But the trip taught us that a clear vision for food safety and sustained effort and commitment from our factory team would reap huge rewards. We just didn’t expect it to be the BRCGS site of the year for the Americas out of 4,000 sites.

Choose the Brand Reputation Compliance Global Standards (BRCGS)

As a company, we strive to be the best every day. And when it comes to food safety, it’s the first thing that comes to mind every morning. That’s why our company starts its day with an 8:30 a.m. call on company-wide food safety to discuss issues and challenges and to collaborate on problem solving as a team. This morning call is the foundation of our food safety culture.

In 2009, Canadian industry wanted to make sure we were part of European standardization. BRCGS certification in Canada sets a very clear global standard for food safety that we can all align ourselves with, and we are proud as a company to have adopted the BRCGS standards.

When we chose the food safety standard that best reflected our culture, we chose BRCGS, formerly known as the British Retail Consortium (BRC), as it is a market-leading global brand that was founded in 1996 to improve and harmonize food safety standards around the world. supply chain network.

Over the years, the evolution of the BRC standard has helped us continuously grow and mature in the area of ​​food safety and quality. As new food safety hazards emerge, so do the methodologies for ensuring their safety. We know more than ever about how to produce safe and healthy food. And the expectations of our consumers and of ourselves continue to rise. In some cases, what was ambitious good practice five years ago is now a minimum requirement. The standard is now at its 8e edition, in the process of releasing the 9e — with each edition, new learnings are integrated, and the entire global food supply network is brought to a new level of maturity.

Our people have driven our journey to excellence

The link of our company with a Listeria The 2008 outbreak is well known, but what isn’t as well known is how we commemorate this tragedy each August, and this commemoration inspires us to continually improve and strive to be at the forefront of the industry in food safety.

When we opened our flagship Heritage plant, we knew it was a chance to create a purpose-built plant with the latest technology, practices and a great team to create a new era of prepared meat safety at Maple Leaf Foods.

We’ve had a journey at Heritage filled with exceptional learnings, and the most important is this: while systems, technologies and equipment played a key role in this incredible result, the real drivers were our people, and they deserve the praise. But don’t expect to see much complacency. It’s a humble team dedicated to keeping an eye on food safety and quality. They know that overconfidence can breed invincibility and that’s where problems can arise.

Still, it’s important and appropriate to pause, reflect on our long and arduous journey to the venue of the year, and say THANK YOU to our amazing team who turned a rocky start into an amazing story about the power of ‘a food safety commitment supported by dedicated people.