A single approach to quality, safety at work and the environment at FrieslandCampina

30 June 2010

FrieslandCampina is gradually introducing a uniform approach throughout the dairy production chain to comply with the requirements in the fields of quality, safety at work and environmental impact. Following the launch of the Foqus quality assurance system on 1 January for the member dairy farmers, Foqus is now the standard used worldwide by all FrieslandCampina production sites to ensure that products and production methods meet the specifications and requirements of customers and authorities when it comes to quality and food safety. The next step is to roll it out to cover the environment and safety at work (including fire prevention) at the production companies.

Foqus builds on similar systems operated by the former Friesland Foods and Campina. The importance of Foqus is to enable FrieslandCampina to meet the requirements and comply with the agreements in the field of food safety, quality, working conditions, environmental impact and fire prevention.

Foqus provides employees at the production and distribution companies with structured and transparent insight into the relevant standards and opportunities for improvement. FrieslandCampina also translates this approach to suppliers of ingredients and other raw materials and consumables.

One basic philosophy
‘We stick to one basic philosophy. That’s why we opt to work under the Foqus name throughout the chain to guarantee quality, food safety, safety at work and the environment’, explains Suzan Horst, Corporate Manager at Quality Affairs, Issue & Crisis Management at FrieslandCampina. ‘The production of dairy is a careful process. Risk analyses, production protocols and quality controls in the production chain ensure that the risk of errors and incidents are kept to a minimum. In addition, we are very aware that quality is produced by people not on paper. It’s therefore, and primarily,  about attitude and motivation. Motivation to continue to improve. Foqus is geared to this. The PDCA circle (Plan Do Check Act)  therefore plays a key role.

These principles are no different on a farm than they are at a dairy production company. Inevitably, however, Foqus is implemented differently in our production and distribution companies than in the dairy companies of our members.’

Based on international standards
To guarantee that by using Foqus at the production sites, quality and food safety meet the current requirements, the system is based on international and national rules and standards, such as HACCP, ISO 9001, FSSC22000 and Codex. The international standards governing working conditions and the environment are ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001.

Expansion to include safety at work, the environment and fire prevention
We are currently preparing an expansion of the Foqus system to include working conditions, environmental care and fire prevention. ‘To achieve this, we’ve already got programmes running in the organisation which we are now aligning to a single system. The standardised risk analysis method underpins the system. All sites are required to operate at least at the level of ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. A single Foqus approach fosters the exchange of ideas between the various business units and also between food safety and the environment and safety at work, for example’, explains Jaap Petraeus, Corporate Manager Environment & Sustainability.

Member dairy farmers
The 15,300 dairy farmers have been working with Foqus-Farm since 1 January 2010. For them, Foqus Farm encompasses four elements: milk (such as the quality of the milk, milking and milk refrigeration), cow (health), production process (water, feed) and the environment (cleanliness of the farm and outdoor grazing). In the Netherlands, members must comply with specific FrieslandCampina rules. For members in Germany and Belgium, FrieslandCampina uses existing national systems where possible, such as QM-Milch (Germany) and IKM (Belgium). Independent, external bodies monitor the milk and the business practice of dairy farmers.

Yvonne van der Vorst, Quality Manager at Cooperative Affairs: ‘On the farms, the dairy farmers lay the foundations for the quality performance throughout the chain. Even if quality assurance in our production companies works differently in practice than on a dairy farm, the name Foqus shows that our dairy farmers and staff all have the same goal: to ensure as effectively as possible that the quality and safety of products and production processes are satisfactory.’