Offering consumers high-quality products with the highest food safety credentials is the dual pillar on which Barilla's policy is built.
People safety, in particular, is a prerequisite of every food product. That is why, when formulating recipes, Barilla sees it as an imperative to develop products that are safe and wholesome, and establish structured processes that ensure continuous oversight of quality, from field to fork. As proof of this commitment, there are more than 70 managers at Barilla tasked specifically with designing and continuously improving the quality and food safety management system.
Barilla has put in place a rigorous quality and food safety management system, in order to prevent possible risks relating to products and make them safe for consumers. This system optimizes the way Barilla manages both known problematic issues and those that emerge at any point along the supply chain.
Over 3 million analysis were carried out in one year at global level to monitor the quality and food safety of Barilla products
Barilla's entire food safety management system is based on a risk assessment methodology that enables the company to identify, analyze and evaluate all possible risks relating to food safety, and therefore establish the necessary measures for their prevention and management.
Barilla's approach to managing known, legislatively regulated risks associated with chemical, biological, microbiological and physical contaminants, is based on the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) method. Under this method, critical control points (CCPs) in the production process are managed in such a way as to guarantee the safety of food products.
For products stabilized by means of a thermal process, furthermore, Barilla has set up a unit called the Thermal Process Authority, which defines all the key parameters, such stabilization time and temperature, that make the finished product safe.
Lastly, Barilla also preventively manages potential emerging risks, which are still under study by the scientific community and not yet regulated by law, in order to mitigate them.
2,200 monitoring analysis were carried out by Barilla in one year on the main emerging risks in the food industry
Barilla uses only selected raw materials, which it puts through stringent controls, from the selection and approval of suppliers, to the checking of batches on receipt at the production site. Every day, on average, a specialist from the company visits a supplier to ensure that they are operating in accordance with the reference standards, and to consolidate the exchange of knowledge that has always been the hallmark of Barilla's partnerships with its suppliers.
On the basis of the risk assessment and the internal reference standard, each raw material is associated with a specific monitoring plan, which is implemented by the Quality Control laboratories at the production plants or by qualified external laboratories.
Barilla also carries out research to develop innovative technical analyses designed to prevent the risk of food adulteration and fraud.
Over 650,000 analysis were carried out at global level in one year to monitor the quality and safety of raw materials and packaging
With regard to the durum wheat used for pasta production, for example, Barilla has established multiple prevention and control operations on the supply chain, to ensure ever higher levels of safety and quality in finished pasta. Once it has selected its durum wheat suppliers, Barilla requires them to adhere to the Barilla Code of Practice for the cultivation and storage of wheat, which provides guidance on good farming practices. It also requires them to limit their use of phytosanitary products to the minimum strictly necessary for parasite prevention, in accordance with rules and procedures that are more stringent than those laid down in the applicable legislation. During cultivation in the field, wheat can be attacked by a fungus that develops a mycotoxin known as deoxynivalenol (DON). Barilla has developed a forecasting model which, as early as the pre-harvest stage, makes it possible to classify the areas at risk, and thus establish the frequency of analytical checks to be carried out before the wheat is purchased.
Barilla therefore carries out checks on all batches from areas classified as at risk, with the support of experts and approved, independent external laboratories. The wheat entering Barilla mills, lastly, is subject to a rigorous food safety plan based on the analysis of various risk factors, which also includes a search for traces of food contaminants.
For over ten years, Barilla has been using a know-how manual entitled Good Manufacturing Practices. Updated and aligned with the best reference standards for the industry, it consists of over 1,200 rules that define the health and hygiene requirements of all production areas, plants and other environments, as well as the rules of conduct for operators. Barilla periodically conducts over 900 internal audits in order to identify potential areas for improvement regarding the quality and safety of its products.
22 million euros were spent during the year at global level for the continuous improvement of plants and production lines in relation to quality and food safety
All Barilla production plants, furthermore, are certified, or in the process of being certified, to FSSC22000. This standard is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative, a non-profit foundation consisting of industry specialists, which helps companies set up more and more effective food safety management systems. FSSC22000 is intended to ensure product safety, and promotes a transparent, collaborative approach between the various players in the supply chain.
96.5% of batches of finished product in full compliance with Barilla quality standards at global level in one year
To safeguard the quality of its products all the way to the retail store, Barilla also oversees their transport and distribution. Over the years, therefore, Barilla has compiled a document entitled Good Distribution Practices, which identifies 143 requirements for the storage and transport of its products, thus setting out the service quality standards to which its logistics partners must adhere. The company also runs Food Values Days, aimed at involving its distributors in training and awareness-raising activities on quality and food safety along the supply chain, including monitoring of correct application of the Good Distribution Practices.
Over the course of the year, furthermore, the Quality and Food Safety function conducted analyses on 8,500 packs of products at retail stores, in order to check that the quality perceived by consumers was in line with the standards defined and implemented by Barilla. In the course of a series of specific technical tasting session, it also carried out over 445,000 controls on product quality.
Barilla has established a specific management system for the prevention of food fraud, aimed at identifying potential vulnerabilities in this respect along the supply chain and drawing up a plan of mitigating action.
In parallel with this management system, Barilla launched the Food Fraud Prevention Program, an initiative taken in collaboration with its suppliers, which enables the company to set precise standards for assessing the vulnerability of the supply chain, with a view to preventing fraud and sharing risk management.
Since 2014, moreover, Barilla has been taking part in a European-financed five-year project known as the Food Integrity Project, which involves over 60 partners in initiatives aimed at ensuring and improving the quality and authenticity of products.
A key part of the Food Integrity Project is a plan to reduce barriers to information exchange between companies and the authorities, in order to make it easier to identify fraudulent products on the market and therefore raise consumer confidence in relation to food integrity and quality.
Barilla is a member of the Food Integrity Project Management Board and the coordinator of Work Package-10, whose aim is to equip the European food industry with the necessary tools to manage and prevent risks to health and safety deriving from food fraud and adulteration.
FOODINTEGRITY PARMA 2017: A GREAT BARILLA SUCCESS
Barilla was the organizer of the 4th International Food Integrity Conference, subtitled "Turning Science into Solutions", which was held in Parma in collaboration with the Barilla Food Safety & Authenticity Research Team and the University of Parma.
The event was attended by 350 delegates from the food industry, distribution, public administration, specialist food safety laboratories and various non-governmental organizations. The conference provided an important opportunity to meet and discuss the issues involved in the fight against food fraud and adulteration.
The event saw the presentation of the results of the latest studies on the future development and strategies implemented in the field of quality, authenticity and traceability of products. The 2017 edition also focused closely on the direct and indirect impact of fraud and inadequate food safety protection on the entire industry.
With regard to the management of potential critical issues, Barilla has put together a detailed management system, which enables it to trigger a prompt diagnostic response designed to identify the causes of the problem and implement effective solutions to safeguard consumer’s health.
In the course of 2017, Barilla made a product recall in France, at the precautionary request of the competent authority, which had been contacted by a consumer, reporting the presence of a foreign body in a package. After examining all the checks conducted by Barilla on the production batch, the authority judged it safe for consumers and gave it clearance for sale.
The safety and quality of our products is closely linked with the experience and skills of Barilla People. That is why the company is committed to raising awareness and providing ongoing staff training on quality and food safety.
Over 5,000 People benefited from training and awareness-raising on quality and food safety at global level in one year
A key part of the training program is the Food Safety Day run by the Quality and Food Safety function for company employees, which is aimed at disseminating a culture of quality and food safety. Over 160 People attended the event in 2017, from a wide range of technical and commercial functions.
TRAINING IN PEST PREVENTION
During the year, Barilla has implemented a training and awareness-raising program aimed at the prevention of food pest infestation in areas climatically at risk, such as Brazil, China and Japan.
In Brazil, all Barilla People and most of the sales force received training in the specific procedures for preventing and managing pest infestation, including dedicated visits to retail stores. Visits were made, more than once in some cases, to 55 retail stores over the course of the year. Barilla also extended its training program to all third-party call center staff, so as to ensure that consumers receive a correct, professional response to their queries.
The effectiveness of this initiative was borne out by a 20% reduction in the number of complaints received in relation to cases of food product pest infestation compared with the previous year.
China e Japan
In China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Barilla trained over 95% of its distributors in pest prevention procedures. In Japan, the company trained its new logistics services suppliers in Good Distribution Practices, with a particular focus on pest control.