Food Quality & Safety

High Food Quality and Safety Standards

Topics in this section include:

Food Safety and Quality

Hormel Foods invests substantial time and resources in developing a comprehensive training program for our employees to achieve our stellar food safety record. This program starts the moment an employee is hired and is 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. We also reach out to provide training to our key co-packers to ensure they are
adhering to our strict safety standards.

We have implemented robust food safety and sanitation systems which are based on HACCP principles to assure the safety of every product we produce. Oversight of our food safety systems is conducted by company personnel, independent third parties and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Despite these efforts, one product was recalled in 2010 due to a supplier ingredient that was potentially contaminated with salmonella.

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

Food Safety Accomplishments

  • Food Processing magazine’s “R&D Team of the Year” (in the large company category, annual sales of $750 million or more) presented to the Research and Development team at Hormel Foods.
    • Team was recognized for developing innovative and high quality products, but also for its industry leadership in food safety interventions, exploratory science and new technology applications to enhance food safety and quality.

  • National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST) Award, presented by NCFST and Illinois Institute of Technology, to Daniel G. Brown, Hormel Foods Corporation.
    • NCFST Award recognizes the achievements of an individual in the field of food science and technology who has made outstanding contributions to food safety or across government, academia and industry.
    • Brown, who retired from Hormel Foods in 2009, served as the company’s expert microbiologist in response to questions involving food safety, process validation and HACCP compliance. He was also the primary interface with the company’s subsidiaries and co-packers related to food safety, process validation and microbiology issues.

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Packaging and Labeling

All employees working with nutrition information are trained on mandatory and voluntary labeling elements. We also employ modified atmosphere packaging, nutritional verification, training and a sophisticated software system to maintain an accurate database of all ingredient and formulation specifications. This 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. Based on the formulation for the product and labeling requirements, this software assembles the ingredient statement and other labeling elements to eliminate human error. All elements of this database are maintained through a working relationship with our suppliers.

We have three committees responsible for ensuring the highest food safety and quality standards in our packaging and labeling process:

  • Functional Foods Committee: Reviews product labels and claims for accuracy using peer-reviewed materials;
  • Labeling Review Board: Reviews labels to ensure accuracy;
  • Claims Committee: Reviews and approves label and product claims.

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To ensure objective oversight of the highest food safety and quality standards, Hormel Foods works with the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), an internationally recognized, third-party food safety management system.

Hormel Foods had one of the first manufacturing facilities certified by GFSI. A total of 36 Hormel Foods manufacturing sites have been certified by GFSI-recognized food safety management systems, which include the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standard for Food Safety and Safe Quality Food (SQF) Institute. 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:

  • Alma (BRC)
  • Algona
  • ALSF
  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Beloit
  • Burke
  • CCPC
  • CFI-Plant #1
  • CFI-Plant #2
  • CFI-Plant #3
  • CFI-Plant #4
  • Corporate Audit
  • Dan’s Prize (Long Prairie)
  • Dan’s Prize (Browerville)
  • Dold
  • Fremont
  • Knoxville
  • Lloyd’s BBQ
  • Mexican Accent
  • Osceola
  • Plainview
  • Progressive Processing
  • QPP
  • Rochelle
  • Stockton
  • Swiss America
  • Tony Down’s
  • Valley Fresh
  • JOTS-W. Central Turkeys
  • Pelican Rapids
  • JOTS- Melrose
  • JOTS- Willmar Ave.-Willmar
  • JOTS- Barron
  • JOTS-Montevideo
  • JOTS-Faribault
  • JOTS-Benson Ave-Willmar

Part of our food safety system is risk assessments of our inputs in the supply chain, including ingredient suppliers as well as manufacturing facilities. Based on risk assessments, all suppliers comply with GFSI or audits conducted by quality assurance staff.

Our robust audits are conducted by trained, certified auditors. Auditors must complete certified trainings through various accreditation bodies overseeing auditing bodies. Accreditation sets certain certification requirement.

We provide customers additional assurances by ensuring all of our sites are audited by credible, outside agencies. They can rely on uniform and standard audits across the industry. Every plant is audited for HACCP, sanitation and quality.

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