Food Safety and Reliability
in renovating its quality control system, the Sojitz Group established the first quality assurance office at a general trading company and is strengthening efforts to ensure food safety and reliability.
In fiscal 2007, some consumers became seriously ill after eating frozen food products for which Sojitz's subsidiary Sojitz Foods Corporation handled import procedures. A police investigation detected the presence of an organophosphate pesticide on the products. We take incidents such as this very seriously, and are working to further strengthen systems for ensuring food safety and reliability throughout the Sojitz Group. Here are some of the steps we are taking.
• Unified Group Management by the Quality Assurance Office
The Sojitz Group's measures for food safety and reliability previously were based on the Sojitz Group Rules for Confirming and Ensuring Food Safety. On April 1, 2008, we moved to raise the effectiveness of those measures by establishing the Quality Assurance Office within the Foods Unit to provide unified management and leadership for food safety and reliability for the entire Sojitz Group.
The Quality Assurance Office is headed by a specialist from Japan Frozen Foods Inspection Corporation(*1), and is building a quality control system with a high level of expertise. Below are some of the measures the office is taking.
(*1)Japan Frozen Foods Inspection Corporation (JFFIC) is a public corporation and general food inspection agency. It serves diverse needs, focusing on testing, inspection and quality assurance, to maintain food safety and reliability.
(*2)Only main items are shown.
Quality control training seminar
1.Improved System of Testing for Pesticides and Other Chemicals
Testing was previously done primarily at the production stage, but we are extending it to the raw material stage and even to growing areas in order to verify safety.
2.Expanded Factory Audit Items
We have expanded the number of items checked in factory audits from 100 to 150, and improved criteria to conduct more rigorous audits. Previously, audits were centered on items related to food safety in the production process. The addition of items related to food reliability, such as chemical substance control and the presence of surveillance cameras, has reinforced food safety and reliability.
3.Strengthened Factory Audits and Production Floor Visits
The audits that were previously carried out at each Group company now are conducted in principle by the Quality Assurance Office, using a consistent set of criteria. This approach concentrates audit tasks and factory information at a single location. Six auditors assigned to the Quality Assurance Office conduct regular audits. Other improvements include having Quality Assurance Office staff attend screening of new factories and the first production run of new products as a standard practice.
4.Established China Liaison Office
On May 8, 2008, the Quality Assurance Office's China Branch Office was established at Sojitz (Dalian) Co., Ltd. For all production plants in China that supply the Sojitz Group, the branch office 1) conducts fact-finding surveys of production plant management and the risks of agricultural, livestock and marine raw materials used by the production plants; 2) checks, improves/eliminates and provides direction for growing areas to ensure safe and secure raw materials; and 3) provides quality control education and training to key employees of production plants to raise the level of quality control. We also plan to establish a branch office in Southeast Asia, where many production plants that supply us are located, and will continue efforts to strengthen quality management systems at production plants overseas.
5.Revised Criteria of Complaint Levels
To better ensure quick response and minimization of damage when a problem arises, we have adopted stricter criteria and revised response items based on a five-step decision table that is used when a complaint is made.
Through these and other measures, the entire Sojitz Group is working to make sure that it can deliver safer and more reliable food products to consumers.