Protecting Food Safety – Strauss Group

As a global food and beverage company, we have a responsibility towards millions of people who enjoy our products every day. Our responsibility is to manufacture and market nutritious and safe food that will improve the lives of people around the world and will not threaten their health.

Our ability to continue operating in the market as a trusted manufacturer of food, beverages and advanced water purifiers depends on careful, constant and uncompromising attention, and a full commitment to product safety. This is fundamentally important to our business success and longevity, to creating value and to protecting the health of the communities in which we operate.

Food safety in the countries in which we operate is subject to numerous laws and regulations, and we work very hard to comply with all of these requirements. Furthermore, through our policies and internal processes, we strive for even higher standards in the area of food safety, to the extent that we often exceed legal requirements. In places where there is no regulation or regulations are not enforced, an uncompromising Strauss Group food safety policy document is implemented.

In addition to food and beverage products, we are also a global manufacturer of water purification appliances for home and office. Even though the relevant safety requirements for these products somewhat differ from the requirements relevant to food and beverage products, our commitment to safety remains our top priority when it comes to complying with legal requirements and beyond. In order to fulfill all the obligations stated above, we implement strict management processes throughout the value chain and carry out a variety of internal controls.

In 2020, we published a policy paper that presents our Strauss Group commitment to product safety (for the Product Safety Policy Paper – click here). Our commitment doesn’t stop at the Strauss sites. We demand that all the partners and suppliers we work with prove that they maintain regulated food safety systems. At Strauss Israel, for example, all suppliers are required to prove that they are compliant with the ISO 22000 or equivalent standard, as a base-line condition for working with the company.

In 2020, we had no instances of non-compliance in areas of food safety and quality that culminated in fines or sanctions. Nevertheless, Strauss Israel carried out seven voluntary product recalls out of the concern of not complying to company standards, as part of an uncompromising commitment to food safety and quality. In these isolated cases, the company was careful to announce the recall on a variety of media channels, and recently even sent personal messages to consumers who purchased the products. (For more details, click here)

Examples of advances in food safety in 2020:

Food companies are among the industries whose consumption volumes were not impacted by the Corona crisis, and in some cases, even grew. Food is an existential human necessity, and it is clear that in times of crisis, people regard it as a safety net. Therefore, keeping up with unexpected increasing demands was a key goal for us in 2020. To this end, we were expected to make major adjustments to our production, marketing and distribution systems. These adjustments were also implemented to meet new quality assurance conditions, and, above all, protect the health of Strauss Group employees.

Strauss Israel  implements the world’s leading food safety standards: Strauss Israel is certified and strictly complies with the ISO 22000 Food Safety Standard in all its factories in Israel. In 2020, we started a process of implementing broader standards, the FSSC 22000 standard, recognized by international organizations including the Global Food Safety Initiative. A number of sites have already completed this certification and work accordingly: Strauss Dairies, the Salty Snacks factory, the coffee factories in Safed and Lod, and one of the departments in the Confectionary factory. In 2021, we will complete the process at the rest of the Strauss Israel sites. 

In 2020 the company prepared itself for testing by the American FDA in factories, some of which do not export products abroad. But these tests were not carried out because of the Corona crisis. In 2021 we will continue to make adjustments in order to comply with FDA standards, and to prepare for the tests when possible.

The New Ta’am Hateva (Taste of Nature) Factory in Bror Hayil, with the most advanced food safety standards: The new fresh salads factory of the Food division in Bror Hayil, Ta’am Hateva, was built with extremely high food safety standards. Compliance with these high standards is extremely important especially in light of the short shelf lives of the factory’s products.  The new factory includes the most advanced infrastructures and work methods in the world. For example, combining systems for the disposal of food waste collected in waste pipes with flowing water that carries the waste to refrigerated containers. These systems prevent contamination and bad odors. After the waste is transported, the water from the system is filtered and recycled for the process. This automatic and advanced system has several benefits: Reduces hard manual labor, protects the welfare of the employees, reduces risk, increases food safety and protects the environment. 

New Food Safety System at Strauss Coffee: In 2018, we implemented a new framework for the management of food safety at Strauss Coffee. The framework is supported by a cloud-based management platform developed by the Intertek company. This specialized company provided us with important tools beyond the system itself, including relevant know-how and testing, and worked with our suppliers to address food safety risks. In 2020, we completed the implementation of the system and its framework at all Strauss Coffee’s sites worldwide, along with admin routines for all local quality managers.

This year, we launched all the system’s regular processes: Frequent mapping of suppliers; collecting information to rank risk levels, managing communication with suppliers via the system, managing information; and in-depth analysis of each quality event along with creating a targeted action plan to correct the problem. All the sites hold quarterly discussions about the results, tracking, and testing the improvement plans.

The supplier mapping process is carried out for all vendors, irrespective of size. We did find that the level of risk is not directly correlated with the size of the supplier. This process also proved beneficial for the suppliers, and we regularly saw a significant increase in the quality of production as a direct result of implementing this process at certain suppliers. In 2020, a total of 20 reviews were performed at various suppliers as part of this process.

We continue to promote food safety at Strauss Water: Strauss Water invests heavily in the quality and safety of the water it provides to its consumers. Water quality is regularly checked, and suppliers are  tested on certification processes to ensure that they comply with the company’s requirements (in this field and others). In 2020, a special emphasis was placed on Strauss Water factories in China, the first country in the world to be impacted by the Corona crisis. With the return to work in China following the first outbreak at the start of 2020, a more rigorous than usual acceptance test was carried out in order to ensure that the products complied with all the requirements, even in the shadow of the pandemic. As a result of the cessation of international travel , the company recruited an external certified Chinese entity to carry out regular tests and controls at the suppliers in China. The company even expanded its permanent local quality team in China in order to continue to improve control processes and to ensure that it was supplying its consumers with healthy, high-quality water, even in the face of the Corona challenges. 

Food Safety Leaders at Obela Australia: Since 2019, Obela Australia has been partnering with Dairysafe, the regulatory body that supervises the implementation of standards and systems for the management of food safety in the Australian dairy industry. Dairysafe recognized Obela’s advanced practices in the field of food safety, and used them as a benchmark for other food manufacturers. Obela was happy to contribute its accumulated experience to bring about widespread improvements in the entire food industry in Australia, as part of the company business responsibility approach. 

Obela works with various suppliers to ensure food safety and quality. One of the most recent examples is the partnership between Obela and its beetroot suppliers. After the company identified a specific risk to this raw material, and following dialog with the suppliers, beetroot is now supplied to Obela’s production facilities in new packaging that enables sterility and increased food safety.

For more on additional activities in this field, see the chapter Supply Chain

This activity supports 2 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

  • Zero Hunger (2)
  • Responsible Consumption and Production (12)