Food Safety and Quality

Food Safety and Quality

High Food Quality and Safety Standards

Since 1891, the Hormel® brand has been synonymous with quality, value and innovation. In keeping with theses high standards, Hormel Foods has been recognized for quality, safety and employee training.

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The company’s track record of minimal recalls derives from meticulous traceability processes and procedures. We keep electronic records that trace the product to the processing plants it was produced in, and we also track every ingredient in each product we produce. Due to the size and number of hogs that are processed daily at plants around the country, Hormel Foods uses traceability systems that allow us to know the farm of origin of a hog.

Furthermore, quality control employees are trained to trace inputs. Monthly, Hormel Foods holds unannounced tests to assess employees’ ability to respond to various scenarios related to tracing inputs of products and identifying the root cause of any problems.

To read more information about employee quality and safety training programs, visit the safety section of this report.

Food Safety and Quality

To maintain objective oversight of the highest food safety and quality standards, Hormel Foods facilities have been certified against the food safety standards recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), an internationally recognized, third-party food safety management system.

To maintain our stellar food safety record, Hormel Foods invests substantial time and resources in developing a comprehensive training program for our employees. This program starts the moment an employee is hired and continues to be reinforced with ongoing food safety education relevant to his or her job responsibilities. This training includes Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Training, Better Processing School, in-house Quality Control University and job-specific training. The company also reaches out to provide training to key co-packers to ensure they are adhering to our strict safety standards.

Hormel Foods has implemented robust food safety and sanitation systems based on HACCP principles to ensure the safety of every product produced. Oversight of the food safety systems is conducted by company personnel, independent third parties and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 2011, despite these efforts, one product that may have been potentially contaminated with salmonella was voluntarily removed.

  • Monthly HACCP roundtables to discuss best practices, new regulations and relevant industry events amongst all plants, including subsidiaries.
  • 11 Hormel Foods plants received Quality Excellence Awards, achieving at least 90 percent compliance in HACCP, Sanitation and Quality, with no individual quality programs scoring less than 90 percent and no product withdrawal or recall.
  • Six quality control (QC) supervisors from five locations completed QC University, attending four week-long sessions on topics such as: food safety, HACCP, sanitation, quality programs and plant auditing.

Packaging and Labeling

All employees working with nutrition information are trained on mandatory and voluntary labeling elements. Hormel Foods also employs modified atmosphere packaging, nutritional verification, training and a sophisticated software system to maintain an accurate database of all ingredient and formulation specifications. This software system is designed to identify all allergens (i.e., milk, wheat, soy, nuts); sensitive ingredients (i.e., sulfate, MSG); country of origin; plant location; date of purchase; nutrition information and other detailed specifications. Additionally, we provide consumers with nutrition information on our product websites. Based on the formulation of the product and labeling requirements, the system assembles the ingredient statement and other labeling elements to eliminate human error. All elements of this database are maintained through a working relationship with suppliers.

There are three groups responsible for ensuring the highest food safety and quality standards in the packaging and labeling process:

  • Structure Function Review Board – Reviews product labels and claims for accuracy using peer-reviewed materials
  • Labeling Review Team – Review all labels and labeling claims to ensure accuracy
  • Claims Review Board – Reviews and approves all marketing and advertising materials for accuracy of product claims


Hormel Foods had one of the first manufacturing facilities independently certified using GFSI recognized food safety standards. A total of 40 manufacturing sites, including a combination of Hormel Foods and subsidiary locations, have been certified by GFSI-recognized food safety management systems, which include the British Retail Consortium Global Standard for Food Safety and Safe Quality Food Institute. These sites produced more than 89 percent of our product volume in fiscal year 2011. To receive this certification, Hormel Foods sites were audited against one or more GFSI food safety recognized standards, which are overseen by accreditation and certification bodies.

These locations include:

  • Algona (IA) Plant
  • Atlanta Plant (Tucker, GA)
  • Austin (MN) Plant
  • Beloit (WI) Plant
  • Creative Contract Packaging Corporation (Aurora, IL)
  • Dold Foods (Wichita, KS)
  • Fremont (NE) Plant
  • Knoxville (IA) Plant
  • Osceola (IA) Food
  • Progressive Processing (Dubuque, IA)
  • Rochelle (IL) Foods
  • Stockton (CA) Plant
  • Annex (Austin, MN)
  • Alma (KS) Foods
  • Burke Marketing Corp. (NV, IA)
  • Century Foods International – Plant #1 (Sparta, WI)
  • Century Foods International – Plant #2 (Sparta, WI)
  • Century Foods International – Plant #3 (Sparta, WI)
  • Century Foods International – Plant #4 (Sparta, WI)
  • Dan’s Prize (Browerville, MN)
  • Dan’s Prize (Long Prairie, MN)
  • Diamond Crystal Brands Mitchellville (Iowa) Blending Plant
  • Farmer John (Vernon, CA) – Foodservice
  • Farmer John (Vernon, CA) – Sliced
  • Jennie-O Turkey Store – Barron (WI)
  • Jennie-O Turkey Store – Benson Ave (Willmar, MN)
  • Jennie-O Turkey Store – Faribault (MN)
  • Jennie-O Turkey Store – Melrose (MN)
  • Jennie-O Turkey Store – Montevideo (MN)
  • Jennie-O Turkey Store – West Central Turkey (MN)
  • Jennie-O Turkey Store – Willmar Ave (MN)
  • Lloyds Barbeque Company (Mendota Heights, MN)
  • Mexican Accent (New Berlin, WI)
  • Swiss American Sausage (Lathrop, CA)
  • Precept Foods, LLC (Marshall, MO)
  • Lakeside Foods (Plainview, MN)
  • Albert Lea (MN) Select Foods
  • Corporate Quality Assurance Audit (Austin, MN)
  • Quality Pork Processors (Austin, MN)
  • Tony Down’s (St. James, MN)

Hormel Foods robust audits are conducted by trained, certified auditors. Auditors must complete certified trainings through various accreditation bodies overseeing auditing bodies. Accreditation sets certain certification requirements such as food safety management systems and HACCP.

We provide customers additional assurances by subjecting all sites to audits by credible, outside agencies, which audit every plant for HACCP, sanitation and quality.