I have been working at The Kraft Heinz Company for approximately 27 years. In this time, I have held several senior roles across many functions covering operations, supply chain, R&D, quality and other departments.

In my current role as Global Senior Quality Director External Factories and Suppliers, I am responsible to drive improvements and develop strong collaborative partnerships, growing both our businesses. To this effect, I have the support of a multi skilled team, located all around the world for managing Food Safety & Quality across the supply chain that primarily includes working with our external co- pack partners and suppliers.

I was born and raised in the Netherlands, and I am based at the Kraft Heinz Innovation Center in Nijmegen. In addition to the technical challenges, I have a keen interest in people development, processes, and change management, coaching and helping my team to make significant and tangible improvements.

"To reduce the number of recalls related to foreign bodies and allergens (incorrectly labelled products), electronic in line product protection plays an extremely important part"

When asked how the food industry can improve, I think it is firstly important to remind everyone that the top three reasons for recalls at the moment are—foreign bodies, allergens (incorrectly labeled products), and microbiological issues

My Top 3 Tips:

Quality Culture

In my opinion, the key to moving the industry to the next level is a zero recall mentality, and an important factor in this is strong partnerships within the company, ensuring collaboration, and shared values within all functions.

As the core requirement of any safe and sustainable process, it is key that good foundations are set in place, and as part of this understanding, the risks in the process is critical.

As senior leaders who drive the quality culture within an organization, it is essential that the management team know their factories and the risks associated with their products. It is extremely important not to underestimate the added value of spending time on the factory floor, engaging with managers, supervisors and operators, to understand the process, learning, and getting feedback from all our colleagues.

In-Line Product Protection

To reduce the number of recalls related to foreign bodies and allergens (incorrectly labeled products), electronic in-line product protection plays an extremely important part. We recognize this within Kraft Heinz and have invested a significant amount of money in the past five years in this area.

In-line product protection is developing at a very quick rate and I can not stress enough the importance of label detection (barcode readers and vision systems) and foreign material controls (x-rays).

If these are not installed, I highly recommend inviting the suppliers of these pieces of equipment to understand further how they can assist in protecting your customer and brand. In the end, we have an important responsibility to take here.

Waste Stream Analysis

Internally at Kraft Heinz, we use the term ‘Waste (Reject) Stream Analysis’ which is a golden rule within our company. Basically, this means having a process in place to analyze ALL outputs for your process to understand the root cause and subsequent corrective and preventive actions that need to be put in place. Focus on this area enables better understanding of processes and helps to identify the root cause of issues that can be corrected before the product is in the market, subsequently protecting customers and preventing recalls.

Knowing your process and those of your suppliers and then having the right improvement plans going forward with them as partners, is critical to effective risk management.

Microbiological foundation

A good HACCP plan and understanding of your processes versus product portfolio is a good start, but also having a robust Cleaning and Sanitation program is key. Having the C&S program thoroughly validated with your chemical provider (partner) is important and will help you understand gaps where you can improve. Periodic maintenance programs combined with the change control procedure are important elements as well.

The competency and training of your people is obviously crucial to help you to avoid issues, creating a culture of not only correcting mistakes but also a culture of prevention.

Lastly, it is in the interest of us ALL to work together as one team to drive the food industry into a safer, more sustainable future .…and remember there should be no competition in Food Safety as we all have the same goal - The Best food safety for ALL our Consumers Around the world.

One team, one mission !