The Nichirei Group has put in place a fundamental policy for quality assurance, based on the Group’s business management philosophy. Its goals are to ensure the quality and safety of all the Nichirei Group’s products and services—so that they will not be hazardous to the health of its consumers—as well as to maintain and improve the standards of quality management, quality assurance, and customer satisfaction.
Providing appropriate information to customers is essential to making them feel at ease, just like sincerely listening to their concerns.
Simply meeting the standards set by the food labeling laws is not enough to convey the true flavor that the Nichirei Group most wants to evoke.
The Nichirei Group put its heart into conveying the delicious taste of its products, while also accurately passing along the information that customers need in an easy to understand manner.
Nichirei Foods employs various packaging strategies to help customers choose us from among the countless other brands of frozen food. In general, the following way of thinking is applied to all product packaging that receives the N mark.
The Nichirei Group Quality Assurance System Diagram
●Product Quality Assurance
The Nichirei Group offers a variety of products and services. Each operating company has established rules and standards based on the characteristics of the products and services it provides.
The establishment of these rules and standards is based on the hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) system. The Nichirei Group’s systematic preventative approach to food safety emphasizes the biological, chemical, and physical hazards in production processes and the need for a quality management system. This philosophy generally applies to all food products, and initiatives proceed according to its rules.
The Nichirei Group is working to increase the degree of food safety that it can ensure, through initiatives designed to protect food from intentional tainting that cannot be avoided using food safety initiatives, and crisis management initiatives, which allow accurate information to be revealed quickly in the event of an accident/incident leading to health hazards. It is also working to increase the degree of food safety that it can ensure, and expand its risk communication abilities during emergencies.
The Nichirei Group offers a variety of products and services that possess distinguishing characteristics. In addition to the operation of internal rules and regulations that match those characteristics, we are actively promoting the acquisition of international standard certifications while working to strengthen our quality control system and provide safe products and services.
|Certification||Operating Company||Certified Ratio*5|
|The HACCP system*1||Nichirei Foods||13/15||86.7%||14/15||93.3%||14/15||93.3%|
(Quality management system)
|Nichirei Logistics Group||105/112||93.8%||104/115||90.4%||81/115||70.4%|
|FSSC22000*2, ISO22000*3, SQF*4
(Food safety management system)
|Nichirei Logistics Group||2/112||1.8%||2/115||1.7%||2/115||1.7%|
|ISO14001(Environmental management system)||Nichirei Foods||11/15||73.3%||11/15||73.3%||11/15||73.3%|
|ISO13485(Medical devices / In vitro diagnostic drugs)||Nichirei Biosciences||2/2||100.0%||2/2||100.0%||2/2||100.0%|
*Fiscal years (FY) indicate years ended March 31.
Environmental Data: Applicable Worksites for FY2020 Results Calculations
The following company food plants and distribution centers are included in the calculations. In the event of multiple worksites, the number is indicated in parenthesis.
Nichirei-Foods (9), Nichirei Ice (3), Churei, Kyurei, Nichirei Well Dinning
Fresh Maruichi (3), Nichirei Fresh Process (2), Nichirei Fresh Farm (2), Fresh Chicken Karumai, Fresh Meat Sakudaira
Nichirei Logistics Group
Logistics Network (38), NK Trans (4), Nichirei Logistics Hokkaido (8), Nichirei Logistics Tohoku (5), Nichirei Logistics Kanto (10), Nichirei Logistics Tokai (11), Nichirei Logistics Kansai (13), Nichirei Logistics Chushikoku (15), Nichirei Logistics Kyushu (15), Kyokurei (5)
The Nichirei Group emphasizes people management to protect food.
In addition to restricting access to areas where food is handled to authorized individuals, we have made it possible to determine the when, who and where of such individuals at all times. In-house operation rules covering visitors and contractors as well as self-checks are in place and audits of our plants are conducted regularly to confirm safety. We are also working to improve the workplace environment based on employee satisfaction surveys and interviews.
We have installed cameras and face recognition systems at all our plants in Japan and overseas. To protect the food we have created a system based on the distinguishing characteristics of each product and which allows follow-up investigations to be conducted should problems arise. If a problem does occur, a link is established with our food crisis management system, which allows accurate information to be disseminated and responded to quickly.
Having obtained ISO 13485* certification, the international standard for quality management systems in medical devices, Nichirei Biosciences is building a thorough quality assurance system.
* The international standard for quality management systems in the medical field covering the continuous manufacture and supply of safe and useful medical devices and in vitro diagnostics.
●Overview of ISO 13485
Aiming to eliminate accidents in warehouses and involving its delivery vehicles as well as zero product accidents, the Nichirei Logistics Group holds regular training at the Safety and Quality Training Center and national contests for the purpose of improving forklift driving skills, delivery driver skills and product knowledge.
Nichirei Logistics Group’s new logistics center is outfitted with the most cutting-edge equipment, including advanced security functionality and a seismic isolation structure. In addition, in regard to quality, traceability functionality, inventory management functionality, and more along with temperature control that combines the Group’s know-how and technology have allowed it to realize advanced logistics quality. When it comes to a logistics network, the approximately 4,000 trucks, including the Nichirei Group’s own, that provide transportation and delivery all over the country every day, are the backbone of its logistics network, and collaborations with freight companies are essential. For this reason, the Nichirei Group established a cooperative organization with the freight companies and pursues initiatives such as driver contests and a system of training and awards to improve safety and quality, thereby establishing a close collaborative relationship.
Since the Nichirei Group believes that the best way to protect food is by controlling people, it emphasizes people management. It values communication between people, and in addition to restricting access to areas where food is handled to authorized individuals, the Nichirei Group has made it possible to determine the when, who, and where of such individuals at all times. It has created a system to protect its food that is based on the distinctive characteristics of each product, and which allows follow-up investigations to be conducted should problems arise. The Nichirei Group is enhancing its face recognition system and other security measures at its logistics facilities as well.
The Nichirei Group has put in place a response system for use in the event that there is an incident or accident, involving the food it provides, that might lead to health hazards. The system is designed to confirm quickly the facts, should an incident lead to health hazards; to determine how best to respond to company and outside individuals and the media; to investigate the cause of the incident so that a recurrence might be prevented; and to speedily release relevant information.
Nichirei Corporation’s Quality Assurance Division has established rules and standards for quality control and quality assurance and performs internal audits and monitoring inspections based on quality management standards to ensure that the Group’s quality management system is functioning effectively.
Each operating company’s Quality Assurance Division performs quality inspections of its own products and services and reports and shares its implementation status with the Quality Assurance Committee and the Group Quality Assurance Committee, which assists with the further revision and enhancement of its quality assurance system.
Nichirei Foods researches the materials comprising the raw ingredients in three stages, and manages the distribution percentages, quality/microbial specifications, manufacturing process, and allergens contained. Raw ingredient suppliers are required to submit information on each ingredient in the form of ingredient quality specifications. This is placed in its database and used as the basis for nutritional information and to answer customer questions. When the Nichirei Group uses a new raw ingredient, it first evaluates the production facilities, confirms the ingredient quality, and checks samples. An overall assessment follows and, even after an ingredient has been approved for use, the Group continues to do factory evaluations, inspections, and factory improvements, to further enhance the ingredient. By checking the quality of an ingredient when it takes delivery, the Nichirei Group is able to verify the effect of its factory evaluations and inspections.
The Evaluation Flow for Ingredient Quality Specifications
To always provide safe, reliable and high-quality food, the Nichirei Group conducts rigorous quality controls and inspections, from the ingredients to the products and has built a traceability system that matches the distinguishing characteristics of each product. In the event of an accident, enhanced traceability would prevent damage from spreading and enable rapid investigation of the cause. We would also provide prompt and accurate information to alleviate consumer concerns.
The building of traceability requires collaboration and cooperation on the part of the ingredient suppliers, manufacturers and distributors in the supply chain.
The Nichirei Group regularly holds study sessions to deepen shared awareness with regard to quality information. To digitize and link information, we are also promoting the utilization of our own system that can be centrally controlled.
●Traceability in the case of frozen green soybeans (illustration)
What the Trace Code Tells You
The trace code allows you to trace a product back to its place of cultivation. Trace codes are printed on these Nichirei Foods’ frozen green soybeans to trace the cultivation and production management. If you know how to read these codes, you can trace the entire history of a product, from the cultivation management status in the field to the conditions in the factory. Nichirei Foods is using the trace codes to conduct ongoing improvements based on its discussions with local producers, in order to better respond to customers’ needs.
The farms, in China and Thailand, where frozen vegetables are produced for Nichirei Foods have been selected based on their ability to meet Nichirei Foods’ environmental standards (in terms of soil, water quality, etc.) and agro-chemical management requirements. A farm advisor, from the Group’s frozen vegetable production facilities, is regularly sent to these farms to do on-the-spot checks of cultivation conditions and confirm that they are being adequately managed.
Nichirei Foods provides quality-management guidance for the contract factories that produce its frozen vegetables. Records are kept detailing the importation, selection, cleansing, processing, freezing, packaging, inspection, and shipping of the vegetables cultivated. In addition, the Nichirei Group makes sure with local inspection agencies that there are no problems regarding residual agrochemicals during pre-processing. During shipping it also checks that there are no problems with the production facility inspection divisions that have received technical training from Nichirei. Furthermore, the Nichirei Food Safety Center systematically inspects the hygiene and residual agrochemicals of domestic produce and certifies their safety at the same time as confirming the proper functioning of the local systems.
Besides providing products with reliable quality, providing relevant information to customers is Nichirei Foods’ top priority. Nichirei Foods has eliminated excessive advertising on its packaging and works to provide relevant information.
In addition, through the activities of its Customer Support Center, the Nichirei Group uses its customers’ opinions to provide feedback to work sites and improve quality.
A lot of information is concentrated on packaging. The information in the all-in-one displays on the side or back of packaging cannot afford to be mistaken, and thus undergoes stringent double-checking to ensure that all relevant legal stipulations are met. The name and place of origin of raw ingredients used in products are identified on the packaging, based on the information provided by the producers. Further, since the best-by date and lot number are displayed, it is possible to look up when and where a product was made, and which ingredients were used. Given the Group’s belief that a customer’s ability to communicate with lit is of paramount importance, packaging clearly displays a toll free number for enquiries.
|All-in-one display||Food Labeling Act, Measurement Law|
|Allergy information||Food Labeling Act|
|Nutritional information||Food Labeling Act|
|Information identifying packaging materials||Container Recycling Law, laws related to promoting the effective use of resources|
|Product marketing information||Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations, prefectural regulations|
In order to ensure the accuracy of information related to product safety and selection, the Nichirei Group conducts a number of checks between the time that information displays are created and products are shipped. It also checks to make sure that nothing on the packaging can cause misunderstanding. It is implementing display checks with these two points in mind in its examinations as well, and only those products that pass can be manufactured.
Printing, data checks
In order to obtain information about raw ingredients, the Nichirei Group requires suppliers to provide detailed specifications. But, before using these as a resource for product packaging, it runs tests to confirm they are correct. Such scrutiny of information, as is relevant to highly processed ingredients, can require several months. In addition, it adapts to changes in laws related to food product labeling as they arise.
Nichirei Foods is making various efforts to make product packaging easier to see and understand. Its efforts to make packaging that increases visibility for everyone, including the elderly and colorblind, is one part of these efforts.
No laws were violated in the advertisements/publicity and labeling related to products and services.
The Nichirei Quality Assurance Divisions Food Safety Center is the Group’s inspection and analysis arm. It verifies that the appropriate quality assurance activities are being undertaken at operating companies. Inspectors mostly check for residual agricultural chemicals in frozen vegetables, and for veterinary drugs (such as antibiotics and synthetic antimicrobial drugs) in marine/livestock products and their processed derivatives.
Nichirei provides operating companies with feedback even if detected elements are within legally acceptable limits. This enables the companies to assess whether appropriate steps are being taken to manage the use of agrochemicals and drugs at sites, to discover the causes, and to prevent them from exceeding acceptable levels.
In addition, it checks for agrochemicals and veterinary drugs in over 400 items, and for radioactive substances, the Group monitors the products and raw ingredients it handles using an NaI (TI) scintillation spectrometer.
Regular audits are conducted by each Group company based on an annual plan. The plans are determined by rationally and objectively evaluating the magnitude of possible risks, based on risk management, whether or not certification of international standards has been obtained, the quantity of products handled annually, and product characteristics.
PDCA is also used in regular audits. Audit results are used as reference when determining audit policies and target sites when developing audit plans for the upcoming year.
|Quality assurance audit||FY2018||FY2019||FY2020|
|Number of annual Group audit (Japan/Overseas)||156||15||66||38||54||20|
|Annual Group implementation rate (compared to plan)||100%||88%||97%||100%||89%||80%|
As a company engaged in food-related businesses, the Nichirei Group believes that access to better nutrition is a very important part of people’s health. Nichirei Foods develops and sells wellness products that promote health. In addition, Nichirei Biosciences provides the public with academic and technical information related to immunostaining and has made it available to health professionals through an information website, allowing it to contribute to a healthy society through its businesses.
The Nichirei Group actively participates in industry group activities and contributes to helping communities improve and solve the issues they face through proposals and recommendations/encouragement.
Nichirei and Nichirei Foods are official members of the Japan Frozen Food Association, both Nichirei Logistics Group and its main subsidiaries are members of the Japan Association of Refrigerated Warehouses, and Nichirei is a member of the Japan Food Industry Association.
The Nichirei Foods Customer Support Center aims to improve customer satisfaction and corporate value through quickly and appropriately responding to the opinions and reports of customers. In addition, Nichirei aims to provide accurate product information and a brand that is both safe and reliable.
In order to improve customer service, the Customer Support Center runs customer satisfaction (CS) surveys.
When customers make a suggestion about a product, Nichirei sends them a report form and a survey postcard, both of which it has them return.
The survey uses a five-point scale to evaluate four areas: initial impression contacted by telephone (reception response); items noted by the respondent (on the report form); time taken to submit report (response time); and future purchasing intentions (repeat purchase). Space is also provided for customers to include additional comments. The aggregate results are used to improve Customer Support Center services. Efforts on this direction are ongoing.
●Breakdown of Customer Interactions in 2019
●Evaluation of Customer Satisfaction Reception Response
These are the product recalls that have occurred in the past five years.
|July 27, 2014|
|May 11, 2016|
In FY2020, there were no issues related to the leaking of personal information, etc.
|Number of People||Hours||Number of People||Hours|
|Nichirei Foods||First- to third-year employee technical training session||Smooth communication, problem-solving technique, control of production line sanitation||78 people||924 hours||92 people||1,008 hours|
|Leader candidate training||Management demonstration on educating young employees and accomplishing tasks||41 people||1,309 hours||41 people||1,320 hours|
|Training for obtaining FSSC 22000 certification||Explanation of the items for the FSSC 22000 standard, cultivation of internal auditors, how to create HACCP-related documentation||183 people||72 hours||264 people||84 hours|
|Nichirei Fresh||First- to second-year employee training session||Basic knowledge of quality assurance, factory check, label, response to requests, etc.||17 people||42 hours||18 people||44 hours|
|Mid-career employee training (livestock instructor, livestock processed product meister)||Factory audit / guidance points, selected materials, mechanism of metal / X-ray detector, basics of cleaning and sterilization, label creation, etc.||3 people||6 hours||7 people||26 hours|
|Information session for revision of laws and regulations||Food labeling standards, addition of food allergies, etc.||25 people||25 hours||30 people||30 hours|
The Nichirei Group has put in place a fundamental policy for quality assura...
The Nichirei Group Quality Assurance System The Nichirei Group Quality...
Initiatives for Communication with Customers Besides providing products ...
No laws were violated in the advertisements/publicity and labeling related ...
The Nichirei Quality Assurance Divisions Food Safety Center is the Group’s ...
Regular audits are conducted by each Group company based on an annual plan....
As a company engaged in food-related businesses, the Nichirei Group believe...
The Nichirei Group actively participates in industry group activities and c...
Initiatives for Quality Improvement The Nichirei Foods Customer Support ...
These are the product recalls that have occurred in the past five years. ...
In FY2020, there were no issues related to the leaking of personal informat...
Training Description FY2019 FY2020 ...