Food safety has the highest priority at HOCHDORF. It motivates the Food Safety Department every day to approve products for the market that meet the necessary
legislation and specifications.
Quality assurance at HOCHDORF
“Food Safety – checking product quality.”
The Food Safety Team is responsible for quality assurance at HOCHDORF. More than 40 employees ensure compliance with all quality requirements. This includes operational quality assurance in the plants and daily quality control in the laboratories and the Infant Formula Department. The Regulatory Affairs Department is also involved, responsible for complying with legal requirements and approving product specifications. The QA international division, which supports the subsidiaries with quality assurance, is an integral part of this department.
The Food Safety Team tests samples of raw materials, intermediate products and end products for relevant parameters and issues the approval of conformity. From the raw material to the finished product, each production batch is analysed for various parameters, resulting in between 5 and 200 individual analyses. The laboratory technicians issue 1,400 raw material approvals per month for milk and 200 approvals for other ingredients. In addition, 10,000 in-process controls ( IPC ) are carried out every month. Over the course of the year, HOCHDORF thus achieves a total of approximately 220,000 laboratory analyses and 120,000 IPC results.
The in-process controls are an important tool for direct process control. The production employees analyse the defined parameters of products in a fixed inspection interval. The results are recorded directly in the laboratory information and management system ( LIMS ), which means deviation messages from production are immediately visible in the laboratory. The production employees are trained in IPC analysis and the quality of the analyses is checked periodically. Examples for an IPC are the pH measurement, the rapid iron test or checks on the spoon weight.
There is stringent regulation concerning the production and marketing of food worldwide through various legislative standards, with particularly strict legal requirements for infant formula. The Regulatory Affairs Department monitors changes in legislation, develops internal procedures in response and defines food safety measures.
Quality assurance at HOCHDORF – as old as the company itself
Quality assurance has always played an important role at HOCHDORF. In the past, analyses had to be carried out with the simplest of means and the products checked in terms of their quality.
The technology is much more complex now and operates at a very high level. Nonetheless, HOCHDORF was a forerunner for early testing of the quality and composition of its products with special equipment and devices. In 1940, for example, fractional distillation was used to separate a liquid into individual components. The “Milcosan” is an example of an apparatus used around 1975 to determine the fat, protein, lactose and dry matter content of milk and cream. At the same time, the nuclear magnetic resonance method was used to determine the fat composition. Production and quality control of foodstuffs have gone hand in hand with HOCHDORF right from the start.
Header: Liane Hanisch, Food Safety Lab Manager, at work. (Photography: Brigit Willimann)
In text: Our lab in the 1920. (Image source: HOCHDORF archive)