Food Safety and Quality | JBS USA | Sustainability Report

Our Commitment

Food safety is the heart of our business. We continually review every aspect of our daily operations to make sure we provide safe, high-quality, nutritious products for our customers and consumers.

Our Management Approach

In each country where we operate, local government officials provide oversight related to food safety and quality. All JBS USA team members recognize that producing safe, healthy, wholesome products is our responsibility, and our more than 2,800 global FSQA team members help us accomplish this mission.

In the U.S., the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) inspect every JBS USA production facility daily to ensure that our food products meet federal food safety standards.

In Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regularly inspects and actively monitors our facility to ensure compliance with federal food safety standards.

In Australia, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) representatives are permanently located at our export facilities and perform inspections of our facilities daily to ensure that we are meeting all federal food safety and overseas markets requirements.

In Europe, our production facilities are inspected and third-party audited according to the European Union Food Hygiene regulations and any additional customer quality requirements to verify compliance.

In Mexico, we follow the best practice guidelines for chicken production as defined by the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) and the National Service for Agro-Alimentary Public Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA). Additionally, most of Pilgrim’s facilities in Mexico have a Federally Inspected Type (TIF) certification.

The JBS USA management structure for Food Safety and Quality Assurance (FSQA) is designed to ensure industry-leading performance and corporate oversight at the highest level. The team is led by the Global Head of Food Safety and Quality Assurance, who oversees the company’s global food safety efforts.

The Heads of FSQA (also referred to in some business units as the Heads of Technical Services and Quality Assurance) oversee the food safety and quality assurance programs as well as regulatory compliance for each business unit. They report directly to the President of their respective business units and work collaboratively with the Global Head of Food Safety and Quality Assurance. Each JBS USA facility has a FSQA Manager and FSQA team who, in our Fed and Regional Beef business units, report to the Head of FSQA; in the Pilgrim’s U.S., Australia and Primo business units, report to the FSQA Director for their line of the business; and in all other business units, report to the production facility manager. This streamlined reporting structure demonstrates the high priority we place on food safety and quality assurance, allowing JBS USA to quickly and efficiently implement action-oriented decisions on a daily basis, if necessary.

In the U.S. and Canada, the Food Safety and Quality Advisory Committee is responsible for providing oversight and guidance to our food safety and quality assurance programs as well as regulatory compliance. The committee is comprised of senior JBS USA and Pilgrim’s team members, as well as academicians who specialize in the areas of animal science, meat science, epidemiology, food microbiology and veterinary medicine. The committee includes the Heads of FSQA in each JBS USA and Pilgrim’s business unit, along with nine industry experts, including Drs. Gary Smith and Keith Belk from Colorado State University, Drs. H. Russell Cross, Kerri Gehring and Jeff Savell from Texas A&M University, Dr. Guy Loneragan from Texas Tech University, Dr. Mike Apley from Kansas State University, Dr. Chuck Hofacre from University of Georgia and Dr. Lynn McMullen from the University of Alberta, Canada.

Food Safety in Our Facilities

Food safety starts with the health and well-being of the live animal. No matter the production system deployed, the health and welfare of our animals remains our priority, and we are committed to providing proper nutrition and full-service veterinary care to our livestock and poultry. Please see our Animal Care chapter for additional information on this topic.

The robust food safety and quality program that each JBS production facility operates under consists of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) procedures and validated technology interventions that are designed to eliminate or reduce biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production.

Each of these processes are monitored by team members trained in food safety and quality assurance, as well as government officials, in each production facility. Additionally, inspection and process verification by government officials occur before the mark of inspection can be placed on products entering into commerce.

Further to this, our production facilities implement these additional programs:

  • A written Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) program
  • A recall/market withdrawal procedure, which provides for trace-back and trace-forward capabilities to ensure that the proper products and dates can be identified, if necessary
  • A livestock certification program that requires all cattle producers to certify compliance with federal regulations (in our beef processing facilities)
  • A documented Pest Control Program
  • A documented Food Security Program
  • Annual certification to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards; to date this is done for 100% of our fresh processing facilities in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia and 71% of our Mexico facilities
  • Insured and bonded carriers are required to transport meat and poultry products—where all loads are sealed at the originating establishment and maintained under seal by the carrier in the event of a multi-stop load

We also make key investments in technology and innovation which continues to strengthen our ability to ensure our products meet the highest quality standards.

Training and Audits

All new team members receive training on quality assurance (QA) and food safety management systems when they are hired and additional job-specific training as necessary. In addition, QA team members are provided with specific HACCP, as well as additional food safety and quality assurance training every year.

Each year, we conduct numerous food safety and quality system audits using accredited, independent auditing firms. One-hundred percent of our fresh production facilities in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia and 71% of our Mexico operations have been audited and certified by audit schemes recognized by the GFSI, one of the most stringent food safety-related audits available to the food industry. Internal audits and inspections are also conducted by our FSQA team members.

Additionally, in North America, all of our suppliers who provide products or services that have direct contact with food must pass the ISNetworld and GFSI audits and provide a letter of guarantee.

In the Event of a Recall

Even though we have comprehensive systems in place to provide our consumers with safe, high-quality foods, instances can and have occurred where a product recall is necessary to protect public health. When a recall is warranted, JBS USA voluntarily initiates the recall, collaborating with federal regulatory partners to make sure that all affected product is promptly tracked and removed from distribution channels. To inform our customers and consumers of a recall, we issue a notice that follows government guidelines for communication. In the U.S., recall information is also posted on the USDA FSIS or FDA websites. In Australia, recall information is communicated on the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) website.

Recalls are rare, and we work diligently to understand how they were caused and how to prevent future incidents. We perform comprehensive root-cause analyses and share our learnings across JBS USA. As an independent third-party auditor, the GFSI verifies the effectiveness of our corrective actions.

2020 Progress

JBS USA’s objective is to have a world-class food safety quality systems platform that provides confidence to our customers and consumers and ensures the integrity of all of our products.

Country Percent of Fresh Processing Facilities Certified by Independent Third-Party Audits According to GFSI Standards
(Beef, Pork, Pilgrim’s and Retail Ready)
Australia 100%
Canada 100%
Mexico 71%
Europe 100%