Safety practices

As for safety, the company encourages employees to suggest new safety features or improve existing ones. The company evaluates suggestions from the standpoint of compliance and effectiveness. An interdepartmental group follows up on each suggestion to ensure that long-term, user-friendly corrective actions are implemented and maintained.

Mars Ice Cream used to have an on-site lab, but based on its Efficiency principle, it turned to outside labs for analysis. Mars tests for microbiological controls and analytical measurements.

“Since Quality is our first principle, food safety is foremost on our quality agenda,” Latham says. Standard practices include in-line checks, daily quality reviews and a thorough review of all incoming raw materials (including daily sensory reviews and certificates of analysis).

“We also have strict standards for transportation, packaging, code dating and traceability for all raw materials as well as finished products. From start to finish, food safety is built into our products, packaging and transportation to ensure our products are safe and wholesome for all consumers,” she says.

Last November, corporate parent Mars Inc. pledged $500,000 to the Global Food Safety Multi Donor Trust Fund, which is managed by The World Bank. The fund is a public-private partnership that aims to expand knowledge and understanding for effective food safety management around the world.

Mars Inc. also has ambitious sustainability goals for the entire company. Key targets include cutting greenhouse gas emissions from factories and offices to zero by 2040. The company states it plans to achieve the goal through “absolute emission reductions, without the use of carbon offsets and regardless of business growth.”

The Burr Ridge plant follows sustainable manufacturing processes to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2010, it achieved a 95% landfill-free status. The electricity saved through energy-saving initiatives since 2005 could power 1,400 homes annually, Latham says. Other green practices include the use of laser coding, which eliminates ink, and using scrap ingredients for animal feed.

Posters hanging throughout the plant remind employees that what they do here has impact far beyond Burr Ridge. As they enter the plant, production workers pass by photos of the sales team and their key accounts. This serves to reinforce the notion that manufacturing and sales must work together as a team. At the end of the day, there is a customer to be served. Other posters show the popularity and sales strength (based on SymphonyIRI sales figures) of the Mars ice cream brands. It is hard work for any processor to produce to high standards. And it is difficult to do it day after day. Mars Chocolate North America does it. And the processor has fun doing it. 


This article originally appeared in the February 2012 Dairy Foods.