In 2017, more than 1,200 hog audits were conducted.
All hog producers and employees who care for our hogs participate in the Hormel Foods Quality Assurance Program. This program certifies them in the proper way to transport and treat animals on their farms. In addition, all farms are subject to third-party audits.
Our annual Spirit of Excellence Awards recognize hog producers that exemplify our commitment to quality at Hormel Foods. In 2017, we awarded 90 suppliers with Spirit of Excellence Awards for their roles in the company’s continuous improvement process throughout the last year. This includes seven awards in the provisions category and 31 awards in the procurement category.
Quality assurance and operations personnel perform daily internal audits in our processing facilities to maintain the highest animal care practices. In 2017, two external audits were performed by outside auditors in our processing facilities. Internally, we participated in 1,158 formal audits, and 65 audits were conducted by company management at our processing facilities on an unannounced, random basis. In 2017, we did not have any notices of intended enforcement from the Food Safety and Inspection Service as a result of noncompliance with laws and regulations related to our transportation, handling and slaughtering practices.
At our Hormel Foods company-owned farm, we raise our hogs in climate-controlled barns. Raising animals indoors is beneficial because our housing systems keep animals healthier, protecting them from predators, diseases and extreme weather conditions. We constantly monitor scientific research to understand the best animal treatment practices.