The NISSIN FOODS Group adopts a dual management system to provide safe products. At each manufacturing plant, in addition to day-to-day quality control, periodic internal audits are conducted in accordance with our own food safety audit criteria and ongoing improvements are made to address any issues identified by those audits. Furthermore, raw materials and products are analyzed and inspected at the NISSIN Global Food Safety Institute (“the Institute”).
Quality Control System
Raw Material Analysis and Investigation
The Institute analyzes raw materials for radioactive substances and other harmful substances such as agricultural chemicals, veterinary pharmaceutical products, and heavy metals, as well as checks for the presence of contamination with genetically modified agricultural products and allergens, and the nutrient components of finished products. The Institute also independently develops analysis methods to speed up and equipment for new harmful substances testing. Furthermore, the Institute performs quality investigations in each stage—from raw materials to raw material processing to the finished products—and also scientifically verifies feedback (foreign matter, off-flavors, off-odors) collected on VOICE, our cloud-based customer support database.
In fiscal 2020, the Institute reinforced analysis of agricultural chemicals, veterinary pharmaceuticals and hazardous substances in raw materials originating overseas and took measures to further automate analysis for hazardous substances and nutritional content so it can accommodate future increases in analysis volume. In addition, an inspection system was also implemented for almond which was newly added as an allergen equivalent to specified raw materials for which labeling is applicable.
Furthermore, we do not use genetically modified agricultural products subject to mandatory labeling as raw materials of products made for Japan.
Since 2006, the FOOD SAFETY EVALUATION & RESEARCH INSTITUTE CO., LTD. in Shanghai, China (the “Shanghai Institute”) has performed quality assurance for raw materials for use in China and Japan utilizing the same analysis procedures as the Institute in Japan. In fiscal 2020, sesame and goat were added to the list of allergens subjected to inspection. In addition, Shanghai Institute’s staff members periodically visit manufacturing plants across China to examine the manufacturing processes of raw and packaging materials using an audit standard shared with Japan. In fiscal 2020, on-site investigations were conducted at 60 plants in Japan.
|Inspection for food poisoning bacteria||Inspection based on genetic information for bacteria that cause food poisoning|
|Nissin’s Analytical Systems for Residual Agricultural Chemicals (NASRAC) and Nissin’s Analytical Systems for Veterinary Drugs (NASVED)||Analysis of 550 residual agricultural chemicals and 200 veterinary drugs|
|Nissin’s Evaluation Systems for Mammalian Genotoxicity (NESMAGET), a system for testing for genotoxic carcinogens||Testing method that uses human cells to evaluate carcinogenic DNA damage|
|Nissin’s Evaluation System for Tumor-Promoting Activity (NESTUP), a system for testing for carcinogenesis promoters||Testing method that uses cells to detect carcinogenesis promoters (tumor promoters)|
|Inspection for allergens||Simultaneous testing for eight nut allergens|
|Inspection for confirming nutrient components||Simultaneous analysis of nutrient components using near-infrared spectroscopy|
Evaluation of the Manufacturing Plant Quality Control System
The Institute evaluates the status of manufacturing control at each manufacturing plant using five categories—food safety management, pest avoidance measures, manufacturing practices, maintenance (period inspection of equipment), and cleaning activities—and offers improvement proposals for any issues discovered during evaluation. In fiscal 2020, on-site inspections were conducted at 120 plants in Japan and 78 overseas plants (including inspections conducted by the Shanghai Institute).
The Institute also conducts quality audit activities to check whether quality standards in raw and packaging materials acceptance and manufacturing process control standards are being followed and whether product audits are being correctly conducted. Furthermore, in fiscal 2020, audits were conducted on 45 plants producing frozen foods, toppings, and instant noodles. Guidance for improvement was provided for improving various management procedures and thorough management of allergens.
- ●Day-to-day quality control
- ●Audits based on NISSIN's Inspection Standards for Food Safety (NISFOS)
- ●Proposals on improvements to inspection capabilities
Rigorous Sanitary Control
To prevent foreign matter from entering plants, rigorous sanitary control is undertaken before employees enter production areas. Measures include wearing specialized uniforms that prevent hair from dropping, wiping down using adhesive rollers, washing hands, drying with air, disinfecting with alcohol, cleaning shoes and showering with air. In addition, when receiving raw materials, appropriate equipment is used, such as sieves and machines that separate using wind, color, and magnetism. At the same time, metal detectors, X-ray inspection devices and pallet washing equipment are used at manufacturing lines to prevent contamination.
Pre-shipment Product Inspection
To confirm whether manufactured products meet the quality standards of the NISSIN FOODS Group, each manufacturing plant carries out microbiological testing, acid value and peroxide value testing of frying oil, visual inspection, and weight checking. It conducts quality checks of product texture and flavor, such as sensory testing (sampling) by qualified food tasters.
Traceability Management Covering Raw and Packaging Materials to Manufacturing and Shipment
To enable automatic tracing of the materials it sources from suppliers, NISSIN FOOD PRODUCTS attaches two-dimensional codes to outer cartons or inner bags and manages raw and packaging material information including lot number, manufacturing date, and supplier.At plants, we have put in place systems which can determine the cause of any problem that occurs by using traceability, quality control cameras, and biometric authentication equipment. We post country of origin information for the main raw materials used in each product on the NISSIN FOODS Group website.
Information Sharing for Quality Improvement of Raw and Packaging Materials
To improve the quality of raw materials, the quality group in the Resourcing Division of NISSIN FOODS HOLDINGS (the “Quality Group”) has been organizing quality training workshops for quality control managers and sales representatives of raw and packaging material manufacturers in Japan since fiscal 2018. Case examples of problems that have occurred as well as improvement and prevention measures are shared at the workshops. In addition, the Quality Group holds training workshops on specific themes for business partners as needed.
On-site Inspections of Contract Manufacturers’ Plants
The Quality Group periodically conducts on-site inspections of raw and packaging material suppliers’ plants and contract manufacturers’ plants using a checklist, targeting to visit 100 companies annually. The checklist covers items related to laws and ordinances, facilities, raw materials, water, manufacturing processes, product inspection, sanitary control, and other quality-related matters.
Business sites and plants in Japan and overseas are acquiring certification under ISO 9001, the international standard for quality management systems, ISO 22000, the international standard for food safety management systems based on HACCP*1 techniques, and FSSC 22000*2, an international standard that incorporates food defense approaches. Third-party certification has been acquired by 23 and 13 locations (including some business sites) respectively in Japan and overseas.
- *1HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point)
- *2An international certification standard for food safety systems created by integrating ISO 22000 and ISO/TS 22002-1
Activities to Enhance Quality Testing Proficiency at the Institute
The Institute holds certification for ISO/IEC 17025, the international standard for general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration of laboratories. Furthermore, to enhance the quality testing proficiency of plant personnel at the Group’s plants, the food analysis-related testing proficiency of all quality control staff members of plants in Japan and overseas is evaluated. Moreover, a microbiological testing proficiency evaluation examination is conducted twice a year. An allergen testing proficiency evaluation examination is also conducted twice a year.
NISSIN FOOD PRODUCTS holds bimonthly production technology meetings involving the manufacturing plants, production division, and other related departments. In the meetings, participants share production issues and technologies, and also discuss matters such as standardization and horizontal deployment of outstanding cases across plants. The company also holds bimonthly plant manager meetings in which the plant managers and representatives of the Production Division and other involved divisions participate.
In 2019, there was suspicion that NISSIN FROZEN FOODS’ Nissin Chicken Ramen Kin-no-Chahan (best before date: April 25, 2020) has been contaminated by plastic pieces. Voluntary recall was completed by June 2020. The results of investigation did not find contamination by plastic pieces.
The Kansai plant—which commenced operations in October 2018—is a next-generation smart factory which enhances product safety and productivity to the ultimate level, including the introduction of state-of-the-art facilities and IoT technologies to raise productivity through automation and higher efficiency.
1, NASA Room—The World’s Highest-Level Quality Management System
The plant has a Nissin Automated Surveillance Administration (NASA) Room for centralized monitoring and management, and a structure was created to enable integrated, on-screen management of all information regarding equipment, quality control cameras, electric power, water, workers, and so on in the plant. This makes it possible to use video images and various quantitative data to ascertain and manage the operational status of machinery and all manufacturing processes without the need for workers to enter the manufacturing lines. Camera feeds and control data for all products are stored on servers for extended periods, enabling immediate tracing if a problem should occur.
2, Enhancing Safety through Automation
The use of robot technologies makes it possible to automate processes that were performed by workers in the past such as confirmation, inspection, and transportation of raw materials and containers. The creation of work processes that do not involve people reduces the risk of human error.
Materials brought into the plants are transported to the designated location by automated guided vehicles. Robots open the cardboard boxes containing ingredients brought into the plant under the direction of the NASA Room, and only ingredients that undergo inspection by automated sorting and inspection machines are transported by machine to the manufacturing lines. Ingredients that pass inspection are placed in sealed containers and are not touched again by human hands, ensuring safety. Loading cups was previously performed manually but is now fully automated.
3, Strict sanitary control enforced through three area categories
The plant is divided into three areas—highly clean areas, completely clean areas, and generally clean areas reducing the risk that foreign material will be introduced from outside the plant. Materials that enter generally clean areas from outside the plant are transported to completely clean areas, where they are unpackaged, sorted, and inspected and then sealed in stainless steel tanks for transportation to the manufacturing areas, which are highly clean areas. By not placing highly clean and generally clean areas adjacent to one another, entry by foreign material from outside the plant is prevented and high-precision sanitary control can be performed.