We work hard to fulfill the promise of nourishing every member of your family by offering a broad selection of high-quality, safe, and nutritious foods.
We implement strict controls throughout our operations to ensure our products consistently meet the highest levels of quality, safety, and purity. Continuous improvement of our quality system is driven through management review, quality planning and quality improvement teams. The foundation of our food quality and safety program is based upon the following: Industry Best Practices, FDA and USDA Regulations and Compliance Standards, Customer Requirements, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), the ISO 22000 standard and AIB guidelines. As of July 2012, all Del Monte-owned production facilities are GFSI certified.
We are regularly challenging and evolving our system to meet the changing needs of both the industry and our customers. We built a multi-layered quality system which starts with our executive leadership establishing the company’s quality protocol. This quality protocol is then communicated to each of our facilities to provide guidance and direction which is further supported by our manufacturing site level procedures.
The effectiveness of our quality system is then evaluated through customer and consumer feedback, as well as our three-tiered approach to auditing. Our first tier requires regular internal plant audits, followed by tier two consisting of our annual corporate quality systems audits modeled after ISO 22000. Tier three involves annual third party GFSI audits. Additional third party audits are conducted through state and federal agencies, and customer audits.
We institute numerous safeguards at our processing facilities to assure quality and food safety. These systems range from personnel access control and employee training to product filtration, metal detection, and in-process quality inspections. We have also implemented processes to ensure the quality and safety of incoming ingredients for our products. We do this through the critical steps of employing the use of a Certificate of Analysis from our suppliers, laboratory analyses, Del Monte audits of supplier facilities, and third party audit services.
We further rely on effective packaging to protect our products from damage and contamination once they leave our processing plants. As an example, many of our products for Consumers and Pets are packaged in metal cans. Metal cans provide an excellent barrier to oxygen, which allows our products to maintain freshness and great taste for many months.
Finally, in accordance with federal food safety requirements, we maintain a product traceability program that allows us to track products shipped to our customers. We have significantly enhanced this program to allow for faster and more accurate traceability using electronic tracking of product movement. The system is tested frequently, and test results are used to drive continuous process improvements. Del Monte also maintains records that allow the Company to determine the source of the ingredients used in its products.
Del Monte offers nutritious foods for main meals and snacking for the entire family, and our broad selection of healthy options is especially appropriate for children. We aim to have a good number of our products provide at least a half a cup of fruits or vegetables per serving and to meet healthy nutrient levels as specified by the FDA. A majority of our products are low in fat and we carry several specialized product linesorganic, low-salt and reduced-salt, no sugar added, and light-in-caloriesfor those seeking additional health benefits or following specific dietary regimes.
Del Monte offers a wide range of 100% nutritionally complete and balanced foods for dogs and cats, and a variety of healthy, tasty pet snacks. Each of our pet foods is carefully formulated to meet or exceed the standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) for each of the essential nutrients needed by dogs (36 nutrients) and cats (42 nutrients).
We regularly review our product portfolio and make changes based on the health needs of our consumers. We also follow product development guidelines and review and update these on an annual basis. We adhere to FDA and USDA regulations for nutrition and ingredient labeling for all of our consumer products, and FDA and respective AAFCO state guidelines.
Our brands are some of the best known and the most trusted in the marketplace today. We want to continue to earn a high level of trust and loyalty, and a big part of this effort is ensuring that consumers can reach out to us with their questions and concerns.
Our consumer affairs staff is ready and available to answer questions and listen and respond to comments. Consumers can call the toll-free telephone number (800-543-3090) indicated on product labels (during regular business hours), or visit us 24 hours a day at our Del Monte public website to use our Contact Us form. We document, summarize, and share all consumer comments with operations, quality assurance and marketing personnel for appropriate follow-up. We also use these comments in tandem with the consumer preferences determined by our marketing research team to guide product innovation.
And our customers are not only the consumers who buy and eat Del Monte brand family products on a day-to-day basis, but the distributors who buy and shelve our products too. We work tirelessly to meet and exceed all of our customers expectations, whether consumer or distributor.