At Tetra Pak, our core capability is packaging and processing food safely. We invented aseptic technology on which Tetra Pak’s success has been built. Today, our technologies, processes and expertise have created a complete system that makes it possible to deliver food safely right across the value chain: from food origins, into our customers’ factories, through processing and packaging to distribution, on to the shelf and into the hands of consumers. It all comes together in a Tetra Pak package – which is built around our promise Protect What’s Good.
Food safety is at the very core of how we work and the processes and procedures that support us. We have a clear food safety policy which commits us to maintaining the highest standards of safety and achieving full product traceability through the entire food processing and packaging value chain. The policy is built around our core competencies, with dedicated and specialised food safety specialists embedded in all aspects of our business.“We do not compromise on food safety. Period.”
Starting with our packaging material, we follow a global specification that complies with the standards set by the European Union, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Chinese National Standards. Furthermore, our expertise in chemicals, microbiology and sterilisation technology allows us to contribute to food safety standards that reach beyond current legislation. Our collaboration with world-leading experts, coupled with our reputation in the industry, allows us to work hand-in-hand with regulatory authorities. Together, we help shape new norms for food processing and packaging.
Under our policy, all Tetra Pak products and services are designed to ensure compliance with regulations and the intent of the Codex Alimentarius or Food Code. Codex Alimentarius is a specific collection of internationally recognised standards, codes of practice, guidelines, and other recommendations relating to foods, food production, and food safety, maintained by the World Health Organisation.
“We do not compromise on food safety. Period,” says Laurence Mott, Executive Vice President of Development and Engineering. “It’s a promise we make on every package. Not only is it a promise we make today, it’s also a part of our vision and our mission to protect what’s good and make food safe and available everywhere.”
As we improve the performance of our products, we also need to continuously improve our food safety focus and capability. Product performance and food safety requires continuous attention. This is particularly true for our packaging material and materials used in food contact. Tetra Pak works diligently to understand what materials are permissible to use in our products through such practice as food migration assessments and shelf-life modelling.
The current pandemic risks to undermine public confidence in food safety. At Tetra Pak we have always been, and remain, committed and dedicated to making food safe and available, everywhere.
When a Spanish dairy found product defects during routine sampling, they asked Tetra Pak to conduct a quality analysis to identify production issues and recommend how the system could be improved.
Last year, a customer’s UHT milk factory in Spain was experiencing issues with quality and consumer claims. Tetra Pak planned a quality analysis together with the customer, giving them the opportunity to fully understand their processes and pain points.
The analysis compared the customer’s processes with industry best practice in terms of production and cleaning in the filling area. A Tetra Pak Food Processing Specialist worked closely with the customer as part of an Integrated Service Contract to find potential issues and identify improvement opportunities.
Several wrong practices and issues related to incorrect maintenance were identified and Tetra Pak worked with the customer to improve their processes. Together with the customer, Tetra Pak implemented a variety of solutions to improve efficiency, quality and ultimately, food safety. These included installing new software and conducting an analysis to further improve customer processes.
By working together with the customer, Tetra Pak helped reduce the number of defects at the UHT milk factory from over three per million in August 2020, to zero in January 2021.
When a customer in Finland discovered elevated levels of microorganisms in their fermented dairy alternative products, Tetra Pak quickly responded to solve the issue.
When Tetra Pak was called on to assist the customer at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, they initially provided remote support to gain a deeper understanding of the issue due to the travel restrictions in place in Finland. Local Tetra Pak experts, including a Food Protection Specialist, engaged with the customer to analyse product quality data, which revealed that the issue was gradually worsening and might even affect food safety if not remedied.
In response, the Tetra Pak team quickly worked to contain the situation until the root cause was identified. This involved implementing provisional operational routines, frequent cleaning efficiency verification and tighter quality control routines to ensure the desired final product quality.
Tetra Pak’s Food Protection Specialist led a systematic microbiological troubleshooting exercise to identify the cause of the issue in the customer’s operations. This process highlighted several improvement opportunities in different parts of the customer’s plant. The changes included optimising hygienic design in the production technology, improving maintenance in the pre-processing area, and the introduction of best operational and cleaning practices.
After the changes were agreed with the customer and implemented, quality measurements of the product showed no microbiological issues after a few weeks. This was also confirmed during a follow up six months later, when the customer clearly expressed their increased confidence in the safety and quality of their final product.