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Dr. Matilda Freund

Q&A on Food Safety

With Dratilda Freund, Kraft Foods, Inc.

SN: Have recent well-publicized events regarding food safety and recalls impacted Kraft in such a way that you instituted new programs or enhanced established ones?

Freund: Yes. While I believe we have a strong food safety system, we do understand that no system is perfect. We have a culture in which we are trying to continuously improve. We do look at what's going on externally — as well as internally — and try to learn from those events. What we have done in recent years is put more focus on our suppliers and our supply chain by educating them and sharing our knowledge.

In addition, a lot of our success from a distribution perspective has been on developing good partnerships with our retail customers. We ensure that we have strong partnerships and open, two-way communication. Feedback is very important to us from our customers and our consumers. We use that information to develop more robust processes.

We are constantly working with our industry partners to ensure that we deliver safe food to our consumers.

SN: Let’s change the focus from food safety to food security. Have there been any changes in terms of increased food security for warehousing or transportation, especially after 9/11?

Freund: For transportation, we have always had sealed trailers and documented the seals to be intact. We have always paid a lot of attention to the transport and distribution, and I believe those controls have been very appropriate and effective.

Before 9/11, we had food security measures such as tamper-evident packaging. What we did was enhance other measures. For example, we have on-site visits with internal auditors and we enhanced that particular aspect of the audit to place more focus on the perimeter and entry into facilities. We now do that as a regular component of our audit program, and we also have enlisted the assistance of our corporate security department to help ensure that we are adequately protected.

SN: Are there periodic meetings of senior managers at Kraft on the topic of food security and safety?

Freund: We have internal audits, and those audit reports go to senior management for review. Also, our senior vice president of R&D and Quality regularly briefs and updates our executive team and the board of directors on food safety .

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