For the third year in a row, Kent Nutrition Group’s Arcade Plant has achieved the prestigious Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification, receiving a 100% grade on the rigorous audit, which is recognized by retailers, brand owners and food service providers worldwide.
“With the lack of labor, and turnover, this is huge for our team,” said Todd Krotz, Arcade Plant Manager. “We place strong scrutiny over following SOPs (standard operating procedures) to the T. If we just have the paperwork, but don’t do what we say we do, we would fail. It is a complete team effort.”
All 14 of Kent Nutrition Group's plants go through the Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program; however, the SQF certification is above and beyond. The Arcade plant is the only Kent Nutrition Group plant to have achieved the SQF designation. The Arcade plant makes pet food and treats for domestic and international customers, which look for, and in some cases require, the SQF certification from suppliers like Kent. To maintain it, Arcade subjected itself to having auditors show up unannounced anytime during May 13 – July 13.
“Despite the challenges COVID-19 presented to all of us, the Arcade team did not miss a beat, continuously manufacturing the companion animal products and quality animal nutrition our customers depend upon," said Mike Gauss, President of Kent Nutrition Group. "The SQF certification is a challenging goal to achieve, but receiving a 100% on the audit is remarkable. This is an exciting recognition for all of our employees on the Arcade team.”
The auditor, from Validis, toured the plant for two hours, speaking with employees on the floor about hygiene, safety, housekeeping, and other criteria with a direct link to food safety.
The rest of the two-day audit was spent rigorously reviewing paperwork including SOPs. “I am really proud of the team I have, and what they have endured,” said Krotz. “On top of everything else, we put a lot of pressure on [the team] to reach these expectations.”
The unannounced audit was the third step in the SQF certification cycle, which included a planned audit in 2019 and 2020. “The unannounced audit] is to prove that you do what you say you do, even when the audits are not scheduled,” said Krotz. “We came through 100-percent.”
Recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), the SQF family of food safety and quality codes are designed to meet industry, customer, and regulatory requirements for all sectors of the food supply chain – from the farm all the way to the retail stores.