Safe Food Alliance would like to give a heartfelt congratulations to Blue Diamond Growers -Salida for becoming the 2019 Pinnacle Club “Plant of the Year”! Thank you for your unwavering commitment to providing safe food for consumers around the world. The “Plant of the Year” facility goes above and beyond in implementing best food safety practices. This company sets industry-leading food safety policies company-wide and acts as an exemplary role model for others to follow.
The Plant of the Year is a facility that has demonstrated:
#1 – A commitment to continuous improvement, as evidenced by their facility enhancements
#2 – Success as a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Certified facility
#3 – Dedication to establishing an on-site food safety culture, as demonstrated through food safety training programs for employees, employee awareness and implemented best safe-food practices
#4 – Among the top scoring facilities during unannounced member audits conducted by Safe Food Alliance
This year, Blue Diamond Growers- Salida was chosen as the best representation of these criteria because they understand that food safety is about more than just passing audits; food safety is about protecting people. “Blue Diamond’s record for food safety spans more than a century, where the highest standards and best practices begin on our family farms and in our plants,” explains Mark Jansen, President, and CEO for Blue Diamond Growers™. “The ongoing investments made by Blue Diamond Growers™ in our manufacturing plants ensure they are the most advanced and efficient in the world to give our brands a competitive advantage. As a leader in the industry and supplier of quality California almonds to some of the largest food companies in the world, we are committed to meeting their strict standards for food safety and providing unmatched value to our customers through innovation.”
An Interview with Blue Diamond Growers
Question 1: How does your company foster a dynamic Food Safety Culture?”
Blue Diamond Growers™ Food Safety Culture starts with our “One Team.” Food safety is no longer a passive concept policed by a company’s Quality Assurance Department, but rather at Blue Diamond Growers™ food safety is a fundamental responsibility that is inherent across all team members. From Mark Jansen, President, and CEO for Blue Diamond Growers™, on downward to our vigilant frontline team members in our manufacturing facilities, every employee works together as “One Team” to promote and maintain our food safety culture.
Question 2: How do you educate your employees about “Why” we are vigilant?
Within the almond industry, Blue Diamond Growers™ is a leader in state-of-the-art manufacturing and product innovation and entrusts the leadership to multidisciplinary team members who are empowered as stewards of food safety. Blue Diamond Growers™ is an active member in the food industry and trade organizations, along with industry organizations such as the Almond Board of California and its various committees. Communications on the importance of, and any changes to, food safety concepts are relayed to our team members through annual food safety training, monthly department meetings, weekly tailgates, daily pre-shift meetings, virtual monitors, emails and direct one-on-one dialogues. As “One Team,” every team member at Blue Diamond Growers™ is committed to delivering the benefits of almonds to the world; a benefit that begins with our Food Safety Culture.
Question 3: Describe in detail what the company strives for in food safety to merit membership in the Pinnacle Club?
As a leader in almond production and marketing, Blue Diamond Growers™ strives to uphold, promote and improve our programs based on the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards as established by the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Institute. Blue Diamond Growers™ undergoes an audit of our Food Safety and Quality program at a frequency of one audit per week. Whether administered by our Certification Body, the Safe Food Certifications, a customer or by a Regulatory agency, “passing” an audit is just as important as identifying opportunities for improving our Food Safety and Quality program and enhancing our Food Safety Culture.
Question 4: Why, in your opinion, should a company want to be part of the Pinnacle Club?
Obtaining recognition in Safe Food Alliance’s Pinnacle Club identifies the dedication of the food manufacturer by ensuring their food safety program exceeds current regulatory standards while striving to improve its programs towards “best practice.”
Question 5: How do you promote your food safety program to suppliers and customers?
Supply Chain Management and Market Distribution play a key role to ensure the integrity of the food supply. Within the food supply chain, all entities are a supplier, manufacturer, or customer of some product or ingredient at some point in time. Adherence to food safety standards and expectations transcends all supply chain roles. Blue Diamond Growers™ recognizes its suppliers and customers as partners in food safety and promotes communicating food standards and expectations amongst our partners. Just as Blue Diamond Growers™ promotes “One Team” amongst its team members, we look to promote a “One Supplier” amongst our suppliers and customers.
Question 6: What is the company’s most significant challenges in food safety?
Blue Diamond Growers™ created the almond industry over 100 years ago and currently operates with an infrastructure of historic buildings and supporting systems. As the industry and technology evolve, these buildings and supporting systems require modernization, giving Blue Diamond an opportunity to advance its food safety landscape with future growth. The Turlock facility and New Manufacturing facility in Salida are great examples of how Blue Diamond Growers™ incorporates food safety expectations in designing, building, and maintaining a state-of-the-art infrastructure and processing lines.
Question 7: Are you planning to upgrade your program in 2019 and beyond, and if so, how?
For 2019 and beyond, Blue Diamond Growers™ plans to bolster our Food Safety Culture by incorporating the SQF Quality Code standards within our programs. The combination of the SQF food safety and food quality standards further enhances Blue Diamond Growers™ commitment of delivering the benefits of almonds to the world while delighting our customers with safe and wholesome almond products and innovations.
The Safe Food Alliance team is delighted to have such great partners on our mission to create a safe food culture worldwide. This year’s recipient has overwhelmingly chosen to engage Safe Food Alliance in all the lines of services we offer, from food safety consulting, on-site and public training courses, to laboratory testing, almond quality inspection, and third-party audits with Safe Food Certifications. For these reasons, we are truly honored to have such a loyal business partner.
“Blue Diamond Growers™ sets the standard for food safety, and our team members are dedicated to delivering the benefits of almonds to the world. We support this vision with a Food Safety Culture that is based on every team member being food safety aware rather than just audit ready”, says Anthony Melo of Blue Diamond Growers. Regardless of their many processing facilities, Blue Diamond Growers™ is a company that prides itself on their commitment to food safety. Congratulations on becoming the 2019 Pinnacle Club “Plant of the Year.”.