As a global company with brands that reach consumers more than a billion times every day, we must ensure the safety and quality of the products our consumers enjoy. This is essential to continue to be a trusted choice for our consumers and maintain a transparent relationship with regulators and customers. Delighting consumers is our passion; trusted brands are our promise.
To the World:
Consumers must be able to rely on the quality and safety of the food and beverages they buy. This responsibility falls to the companies who make, move and sell food products and depends on compliance with internal and industry standards as well as government requirements.
Food safety is a top priority for PepsiCo. Through our operations, authorized bottlers, contract manufacturers and other third-parties, we make, market, distribute and sell a wide variety of beverages and convenient foods, serving customers and consumers in more than 200 countries and territories. Fundamental to our mission is a promise to deliver these products with consistent safety and high quality. The PepsiCo Global Food Safety Policy outlines our commitments to deliver on this promise.
PepsiCo has deployed actionable global programs and quality management systems that monitor performance against compliance targets set in each sector. These programs include internal and third-party audits and verification systems, providing checks and balances across the end-to-end operations of the company.
Food safety and quality management
Compliance programs and quality management systems are housed within the Research and Development (R&D) function. Specifically, the compliance team includes Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Scientific Affairs and Regulatory Affairs, supported with input from many other functions.
A comprehensive governance structure supports connectivity across sector and global functional stakeholders to ensure that strong oversight and controls are in place. Management reviews of performance trends, escalations and priorities take place monthly in each sector and globally three times each year. Senior executives review policy compliance, strategic priorities and mitigation of potential risks through participation in sector and global Executive Product Integrity Council meetings throughout the year. In addition, PepsiCo tracks and reviews food safety strategy and performance with its PepsiCo Risk Committee and with the Board of Directors at least annually.
These ongoing reviews and assessments help to identify key areas of intervention in our operations to ensure product safety and quality across the entire manufacturing process. Based on these, we’ve identified key food safety focal points, including allergens, microbiological risks, chemical contaminants and foreign materials. We mitigate these risks with robust systems and processes, designed in alignment with stringent internal and external food safety standards.
Food quality and safety standards
PepsiCo has established strong global quality and food safety standards. We use qualified ingredients, approved suppliers and follow all applicable regulations issued by regulatory authorities. Our products are traceable, which enables us to quickly investigate and address any potential concerns in the marketplace. Our facilities conduct mock recalls at least annually to ensure readiness to respond to any incident.
PepsiCo maintains a comprehensive management system for tracking, reporting and remediating consumer complaints. We make channels available for consumer contact, including on-pack phone, email or website information. This directs complaints either to PepsiCo or to our third-party franchisees and partners as relevant. On the rare occasions when incidents occur, we take quick action, conduct robust investigations, implement corrective actions and share learnings across the system.
Product development follows our technical stage-gate process to ensure that the design is rigorously vetted and products are made and sold in compliance with regulations and stringent internal standards.
We deliver capability building solutions in support of our organization’s strategies and objectives. These tailored training sessions are available to all workers whose roles impact the safety and quality of our products, including the R&D function, plant managers, quality and food safety managers, lab personnel and frontline associates. They are delivered through both virtual and in-person platforms.
Our compliance team is leading efforts to address an increasingly challenging and dynamic external environment, with increased consumer and regulatory expectations. Our Smart Compliance framework enables us to navigate this environment while ensuring compliance across our large, diverse and ever-changing portfolio.
In 2022, we continued to deliver strongly against our Smart Compliance framework as follows:
- Scan the horizon: PepsiCo continues to leverage a diverse cross functional team that provides formal governance to assess and escalate new science and potential regulations that should be acted upon.
- Promote science-supported regulations: Engagement with external organizations has helped define new and enhance existing food safety regulations and standards. PepsiCo is committed to learning from the United States Food Safety Modernization Act and European Union Official Control Requirements. We have incorporated these best practices into our global standards, where appropriate.
- Implement digital technologies: We continue to invest in new IT systems to connect ingredient and product specifications across our system, enhancing product traceability. We have implemented a robust centralized digital system that details past and current results and performance in recalls, regulatory violations, Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and other assurance programs. In 2022, we launched our advanced Risk Heat Map which delivers proactive insights and has re-shaped how we think about and manage PepsiCo's food safety risk.
- Strengthen our quality & food safety management system: We have applied new tools to assess product and process risk on an increased range of food safety and quality dimensions and implemented tailored mitigation strategies. This has improved speed to market while enhancing diligence across our auditing and verification programs. We have also aligned our Product Incident Program and Global Food Safety Policy and updated critical food safety standards to assure the safety of incoming ingredients and manufacturing of our products.
- Make every data point count: We continue to assess new opportunities to enhance testing capability and efficiency that delivers consumer centric products that are safe and follow all applicable regulations issued by regulatory authorities.
- Align the supply chain: Through external industry partnerships such as GFSI and AIB International certifications, we have aligned food safety content, enhanced audit outputs and reduced the need for re-auditing.
In working to ensure the safety and quality of our products, we celebrate our progress while remaining focused on overcoming the challenges we face.
At the end of 2022, 100% of our company-owned facilities had achieved certification from a GFSI-recognized certification program owner.
The dynamic regulatory environment, acquisition and integration of existing businesses, acceleration of innovation, regionally-driven consumer products and increasing sensitivity of analytical techniques requires constant horizon scanning and proactive quality and food safety practices.
It is our aim for PepsiCo-owned manufacturing facilities globally to achieve GFSI-recognized certification. As of the end of 2022, 100% of company-owned facilities achieved certification from a GFSI-recognized certification program.
We ask that suppliers of ingredients achieve certification to a GFSI recognized standard, including Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for agricultural commodities, or to demonstrate equivalence through a PepsiCo pre-approval audit scheme. We continue to work with suppliers to increase the proportion of GFSI certifications worldwide.
PepsiCo has established systems and processes to effectively manage and track food safety related regulatory inspections activities globally. In 2022, zero facilities globally had regulatory violations, defined as U.S. FDA warning letter or equivalent.
During the same period, we produced more than 90 million metric tons of beverages and foods, of which we recalled 95 metric tons, all voluntarily. None of the recalls were classified as notable as defined in the SASB Processed Food standard because the recalls did not affect a significant amount of product nor cause serious illness or fatality.
In 2022, PepsiCo’s quality & food safety trainings were delivered to employees across all sectors to build the knowledge and skills they require. Training modules were provided to both company-owned and third-party partners at different levels; across these modules, training is tailored to reflect the specific requirements of our employees and their roles. In addition to targeted company and third-party employees, food safety was a specific feature in our company wide Code of Conduct training, reaching over 84,000 employees in 2022.
In line with our Smart Compliance framework, we will continue to leverage external partnerships. For example:
- Auditing bodies: PepsiCo is an active participant in GFSI, AIB International and the Corporate Audit Forum. We also partner with GFSI-recognized certification program owners, FSSC 22000, British Retail Consortium (BRC-GS), the International Featured Standard (IFS) and Safe Quality Food (SQF) to help us track and trace data more effectively and efficiently.
- Trade associations: PepsiCo is an active member of many associations working on quality and food safety issues, including GS1, Consumer Brands Association, International Society of Beverage Technologists, American Beverage Association and Food Drink Europe.
We continue to work with third-party manufacturers and suppliers to expand the use of GFSI-recognized certifications and to invest in intelligent food safety systems that provide objective evidence and improve our decision making. We are also increasing our focus on food safety culture and engagement from the executive to the front line.
We will continue to refine and improve our Smart Compliance framework, making further investments in information and communications technology, strategic external partnerships and active engagement with regulators, NGOs and other bodies to enable science and risk-based regulation. Our enterprise-wide systems investments must meet future requirements by our regulators and customers for accuracy and speed.