Food safety & quality are fundamental to our success.
employees in PPE working on a meat assembly line observing safety and quality standards

Food Safety and Quality

Food Safety & Quality Is Non-Negotiable

We know the food that you feed your family has to be safe and high-quality. Our rigorous safety management allows our customers to enjoy our products with confidence. From farm, to facility, to fork, we are dedicated to the systems and exacting procedures that meet or exceed our goal of delivering safe, high-quality protein products. We are a global leader in food safety policies, procedures and performance.

Food Safety & Quality Highlights and Achievements

Smithfield’s success depends on satisfied customers and consumers. Food safety & quality are nonnegotiable ingredients in our contract with them. We pride ourselves on our comprehensive food safety and quality policies and procedures and outstanding performance, which underpin our responsibility and commitment to deliver high-quality products to families in the markets we serve.
GFSI Certified

We continued to achieve GFSI certification at 100% of our applicable facilities.

Zero Product Recalls

In the United States, we reached our annual food safety & quality target to have zero product recalls for the second consecutive year.

FSQA Scorecard

We implemented a food safety and quality assurance (FSQA) scorecard on facility-level compliance and improvements on key quality metrics at our fresh and packaged meat operations.

Our Goals And Targets

Our Food Safety & Quality Goal: Deliver safe, affordable, high-quality protein products.
Ensure no incidents that require a product recall in the U.S.
zero recalls in U.S. operations
Ensure no incidents that require a product recall internationally.
Did Not Achieve
five recall incidents in international operations
Maintain GFSI certification at all applicable facilities.
Maintain a robust food safety employee training program.
Our Goal: Deliver safe, affordable, high-quality protein to meet the growing global demand.
Maintain a robust food safety employee training program.
Maintain GFSI certification at all applicable facilities.
No incidents requiring a recall.
"The food safety and quality team assists our facilities in adhering to food safety and quality regulations as well as customer and company requirements."
- Dawn Pickett, Vice President, Food Safety & Quality Assurance

Ensuring Food Safety & Quality

Operating under time-tested policies and procedures, team members — from leadership to our frontline workers on our farms and in our facilities — own, and deliver on, their responsibility for food safety & quality.

We continued to strengthen our organization in 2020, unifying across our facilities to amplify strategic alignment, efficiencies and communications. We developed and implemented an FSQA scorecard for our fresh and packaged meat operations to track and deliver monthly reports on facility-level compliance and improvements on key quality metrics, such as customer complaints, recalls and shelf life. Line speeds did not increase in 2020. We have continued to cooperate with and participate in projects with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) that are aimed at improving food safety and increasing consumer protection.

Operating under time-tested policies and procedures, team members own, and deliver on, their responsibility for food safety & quality.

At our operations in Poland, we continued to strengthen our food safety and quality systems across each process stage and through enhanced employee engagement and education.

Our food safety and quality systems help ensure that we can respond quickly to address product recalls should they occur. Our international facilities coordinate with multiple agencies in Poland and Romania, which oversee food safety requirements and recall procedures. Amid a multicountry outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis, we had three recalls of raw chicken product in Poland in 2020 and two recalls in pork trimmings in Romania after a customer’s internal testing program detected Salmonella.

Food Safety & Quality Assurance

We measure our performance against the industry-leading GFSI standard, which was developed to drive continuous improvement in food safety management systems around the world. GFSI certification requires annual third-party audits by organizations such as Safe Quality Food (SQF), the Brand Reputation Compliance Global Standard (BRCGS),the IFS Food Standard and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 22000. GFSI certification requires facilities to have scientifically valid food safety and quality plans that monitor on an ongoing basis compliance with product and ingredient specifications, facility maintenance, manufacturing procedures and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)-based critical quality points across product development, customer specifications and product quality review.

In 2020, 100% of our applicable facilities in the United States, Poland and Romania — 51 in total — were recertified to GFSI standards. In Romania, our farms, as well as warehouses and a rendering plant, are ISO 22000 certified.

Our U.S. processing facilities are subject to audits from our customers, daily safety and quality procedure reviews by USDA inspectors and inspections by our internal subject matter experts.

Our suppliers, whom we rely on to provide high-quality ingredients that meet or exceed our customer and consumer expectations, are required to undergo annual GFSI certification or equivalent and a third-party animal handling audit, including a transportation audit. In 2020, we extended Process Verified Program (PVP) certification, a USDA farm-to-table assurance initiative, to 100% of our suppliers.

Food Safety & Quality Management®

Few industries in the United States are inspected as carefully or continuously as the food industry. In fact, at Smithfield, we recognize that 100% of the products we make will be “inspected” by our most discerning judges — our customers and consumers. That’s why the safety and quality of our foods is fundamental to our success as a company, underscoring our mission to provide "Good food. Responsibly.®"

Product safety and quality is one of the biggest areas of risk for food producers and manufacturers. All food products are susceptible to contamination by diseaseproducing organisms or pathogens, which are found naturally in the environment. Product contamination can subject food companies to product liability claims, adverse publicity, government intervention and decreased sales as customers lose confidence in the safety and quality of the food. But most importantly, product contamination threatens to affect the health and well-being of our consumers and their families, which remain paramount to everything we do at Smithfield.

Given the potential negative impacts from food safety failures, our company has numerous systems in place that are designed to monitor and mitigate food safety risks. Nearly all our processing facilities in the United States include an in-house lab. Most are microbiology labs that allow us to monitor our equipment and other surfaces — as well as the air — at the facilities where they are based. These labs help us quickly identify the presence of microorganisms before they can become a problem.

Five of our labs are accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA), which verifies their technical competence to perform specific types of testing and provides an unbiased and objective evaluation of their quality management system. Having this accreditation allows for more advanced capabilities. For example, these locations conduct pathogen product testing and Listeria species environmental monitoring for all our processing facilities.

Our accredited laboratories are:

Location Certificate No.
Springdale, OH 3001.01
Kinston, NC 3001.02
Arnold, PA 3001.03
Kansas City, MO 3001.04
Denison, IA 3001.05

Smithfield invests millions of dollars each year in capital improvements to facilities and equipment, focusing on the safety of our products and protection of our employees while simultaneously enhancing production. We also emphasize product innovation, which we see as one of the keys to unlocking value and driving growth for Smithfield and for our retail and foodservice partners.

Regulations and Audits

Food safety & quality are among the biggest areas of risk for food producers, with serious potential consequences to the health and well-being of customers and their families.

We take pride in implementing robust food safety policies, procedures and performance that are designed to monitor and mitigate these risks.

Our industry performance is supported by our utilization of the industry gold standard Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), of which 100% of our applicable facilities are compliant. In addition, we are subject to audits by Safe Quality Food (SQF), the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standard, the International Food Standard (ISF) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 22000. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reviews safety and quality procedures at our processing facilities daily, as do our internal audit teams.

All our daily food safety & quality practices are prescribed by more than 40 internal policies. Our programs are built on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) management framework. Our quality assurance plan utilizes the HACCP model as a baseline to manage key quality control points. Each plan is a living document that we update regularly in response to our understanding of best practices, industry innovations and our commitment to relentless improvement. In addition, we continuously monitor USDA safety and quality regulations, and our inhouse labs lead in the implementation of any new test requirements.

We rely on our suppliers to provide high-quality ingredients that meet or exceed our customer and consumer expectations and that comply with GFSI and HACCP requirements. Our Supplier Code of Conduct applies to vendors that supply raw meat materials, nonmeat ingredients or any product packaging or casing. Suppliers must undergo annual GFSI certification or an appropriate third-party food safety and quality audit as well as a third-party animal handling audit, including a transportation audit.

The aim of our food safety & quality program is zero incidents requiring a product recall.

Industry Certifications and Verifications

Brand Reputation Compliance Global Standards (BRGCS) The BRGCS standard is an international food safety management system and a recognized scheme of Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). It lists requirements for food processors, including Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), internal audits, supplier approval, traceability and more.
Common Swine Industry Audit (CSIA) The CSIA was created in 2014 as a common audit platform for pork producers, packers and processors in the United States. Audit tools build on the existing Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) program.
Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) 22000 The FSSC 22000 standard is a recognized GFSI scheme used to control safety risks. Certification provides confidence to customers and consumers that a rigorous food safety system is in place.
GLOBALG.A.P. The GlobalG.A.P. certification is highly regarded as a reliable standard for demonstrating on-farm food safety and sustainability
GSFI The GFSI was established to ensure confidence in the delivery of safer food to consumers while continuing to improve food safety throughout the supply chain. These global standards address food, packaging, packaging materials, storage and distribution for primary producers, manufacturers and distributors.
HACCP The HACCP is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.
International Featured Standard (IFS) Food Standard The IFS Food Standard is a standard used to audit retailer- and wholesaler-branded food products and applies at all stages of food processing.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 ISO 14001 is the international standard that specifies requirements for an effective environmental management system (EMS). It provides a framework that an organization can follow, rather than establishing environmental performance requirements.
ISO 22000 The ISO 22000 standard demonstrates a company has a food safety management system in place and is tailored to apply to food safety.
National Pork Board's (NPB) PQA® Plus Program PQA® Plus is an educational program representing the U.S. industry’s commitment to continuous improvement of production practices. It addresses food safety, animal well-being, environmental stewardship, worker safety, public health and community. Farms are assessed every three years to ensure they meet PQA® Plus Site Status criteria.
NPB Transport Quality Assurance® (TQA®) Plus Program TQA® is a framework that helps transporters, producers and handlers in the United States understand how to handle, move and transport pigs and the potential impacts of those actions on pig well-being and pork quality.
North American Meat Institute's (NAMI's) Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines and Audit Guide The NAMI guidelines, which were revised in early 2017, were first developed by Colorado State University’s Dr. Temple Grandin, who has provided Smithfield with her animal welfare expertise for many years. All slaughter facilities are audited, at minimum, once per shift using these guidelines by auditors who have been trained according to the standards of the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Association (PAACO).
PAACO PAACO’s mission is to promote animal welfare in the United States through auditor training and audit certification.
Safe Quality Food (SQF) SQF is a recognized GFSI food safety management certification scheme with a focus on control of food safety risks.
U.S. Department of Agricutlture's (USDA's) Process Verified Program (PVP) The PVP is a third-party verification service designed to provide agricultural suppliers with labeling and marketing tools that assure customers of the consistent quality of the products they purchase.

Food Safety & Quality Spotlights

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Food Safety and Quality

Driving Continuous Improvement

Our state-of-the-art robotics ensure we meet strict food safety guidelines, increase efficiencies for better product yields and address processes to improve employee safety.

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Food Safety and Quality

Empowering Employees

As part of our Raise Your Hand campaign, we also empower our employees to stop production if they see something in their day-to-day that affects food safety or quality. 

Our 2020 Sustainability Report outlines our efforts to make a lasting impact in our process and policies. It is a wide-reaching view of how we want to hold ourselves to the highest standards.

Download the report