November 2004 Edition
Quality Source: We Make Food Safty #1

Step by step, Sysco makes sure that every Sysco Brand product offers wholesomeness, quality, and - above all - safety.

The following is an overview of the steps we take every day to make sure Sysco Brand products are safe and wholesome. After all, every step we take at Sysco is on behalf of you... our valued customer.

Step One: Commitment

We merchandise a Brand, not just a label. Each item under the Sysco Brand is produced under manufacturing conditions that assure product safety and wholesomeness. And since we're a marketer - not a manufacturer - of food products, items that carry the Sysco Brand name are produced by a wide supplier base of individual processing companies.

As a result, we've developed a quality process that requires cooperation and communication between Sysco suppliers, Sysco Merchandising and Marketing Departments and Sysco Quality Assurance professionals. For example, not only does Sysco have a formal market recall program in place, but we require that our vendors do too. This teamwork assures that Sysco customers will continue to get the consistency and quality they've come to expect, and the safety and wholesomeness they demand.

Step Two: Defining Sysco Quality Assurance

The Sysco Quality Assurance Program is the industry's largest. It's a long-standing, ongoing and evolving program consisting of stringent product standards and in-depth evaluation programs. Through this Quality Assurance Program, Sysco provides wholesome, consistent and safe products that are supplied on a continuous basis to Sysco Operating Companies and their customers.

Quality Assurance professionals supervise our valued suppliers to maintain and improve product quality through compliance with, and enforcement of, Sysco product standards and specifications. In essence, Quality Assurance assures Sysco Brand integrity and customer satisfaction.

Step Three: Empowering Sysco's Quality Assurance Team

More than 125 Quality Assurance professionals work around the clock - and around the globe in prime growing and production areas - to ensure Sysco Brand product safety.

These chemists, food scientists and other food experts are the very best technical people in the foodservice business. They set the parameters for product safety and wholesomeness, and have the authority to disapprove any supplier who does not live up to Sysco's strict Quality Assurance standards and to recall or withdraw any Sysco Brand product from the marketplace. To make sure they are not dissuaded from their sensitive decisions, they are given complete autonomy, as they report all their findings directly to a Sysco Senior Executive.

Step Four: Defining The Roles Of Sysco's Quality Assurance Team

Sysco's food technologists develop and enforce our written product specifications, ensuring that Sysco Brand products are always designed to meet our exacting requirements. Every product must meet its specification so all Sysco Brand products achieve the strictest safety standards.

Field product specialists are responsible for continual on-line inspection during the processing of Sysco Brand products. They especially focus their attention to on-site inspection of key product lines that are subject to the greatest variations, such as fresh and processed meat products, produce and seafood.

Step Five: Creating A Sysco Brand Product

Sysco Quality Assurance, working closely with Merchandising and Marketing, is responsible for the initiation of highly detailed, technical product specifications. Each specification is agreed upon with the potential supplier prior to the start-up of the branded program.

Sysco specifications meet or exceed all applicable government grading standards and inspection requirements as issued by the Canadian Health Inspection Agency, Health Canada and the USDA, USDC, FDA and other regulatory agencies.

Sysco Quality Assurance professionals conduct initial audits in the growing fields, production facilities, redistribution centers and numerous product evaluation laboratories throughout the country to ensure that all products are in compliance with our quality specifications.

Step Six: Setting Product Safety Parameters

Quality Assurance professionals periodically conduct in-plant quality audits - on an unannounced basis - to approved supplier sources as an extra precautionary step to assure product safety and wholesomeness

Raw ingredients, plant-water quality, the cleanliness of processing equipment, and pest and rodent control are just a few of the conditions reviewed. We ensure that testing for food-born pathogens such as E. coli, salmonella, listeria and botulism is also conducted. Then samples are sent to independent labs to confirm specification requirements.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points for various processing environments have been developed. These control points, better known as HACCP, are set up at every point that product safety is in potential jeopardy. When it comes to product safety parameters, we leave absolutely no stone unturned.

As you can see, we go to great lengths to assure product safety and wholesomeness. Through this unwavering commitment, we remain the 'Leading Source' for quality-assured foodservice products. So, in the end, the only thing you need to remember is that Sysco Brand products are good for both you and your customers. ยจ