Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability
Valley Meats LLC is committed to being a responsible corporate citizen. This statement encompasses many goals, principles and priorities. These include a commitment to the highest levels of professional integrity and honesty, customer service and satisfaction, product quality and innovation. Our number one priority is food safety. We strive to have the best food safety systems and procedures in the industry. We are also committed to conducting our business in a sustainable manner. We believe that sustainability balances environmental, social and economic considerations. Our most important sustainability principles are highlighted below. We also promise to continually strive to research and implement the best practices in the meat industry.
Valley Meats business is providing high quality, value-added, center-of-the-plate meat products to its customers and their consumers. We strive to be a leader in food safety, committed to providing safe food every time and everywhere. The following four principles drive our food safety efforts:
- Food safety requires the commitment and involvement of all our team members
- We believe food safety must be pursued and practiced along each link of the value chain from procurement to production to consumption
- We will follow and support all governmental food safety requirements
- We believe being a leader in food safety requires us to go beyond government mandates and to seek to understand, pursue and implement practices and procedures that will put us in a leadership position in meeting our food safety priority
In this regard, we retained Dr. James Marsden, Distinguished Professor of Food Safety, Kansas State University, in 2010 as our advisor on food safety. Dr. Marsden was instrumental in assisting the Company and its food safety and quality teams in designing and implementing a state-of-the-art food safety system and best practices for food safety. The Company’s food safety programs include:
- Valley Meats has installed a state-of-the-art food safety intervention system comprised of a spray system utilizing an antimicrobial lactic/citric acid spray and an RGF Environmental UV photo-hydroionization food sanitation tunnel for the microbial treatment of beef cuts intended for use in ground beef products. The Company has installed RGF’s patented wall mounted REME units for air purification throughout its facility. These units utilize UV light and its wave spectrum to create low levels of ozone that over time reduce or eliminate environmental contaminants and airborne pathogenic bacteria.
- Valley Meats is an active member of the Global Food Safety Initiative and has obtained certification at Level AA.
- Valley Meats has a robust test and hold program for finished ground beef which includes sample collection at approximately 15 minute intervals, testing at an outside laboratory for E coli O157:H7 and product release only upon confirmation of a negative result.
- Valley Meats has a traceability system that allows tracking of received raw materials through processing and delivery of finished goods.
- Valley Meats has a plastic pallet program which transfers all raw material delivered on wood pallets to plastic pallets thereby eliminating wood and its safety risk from our production floor.
Environmental Stewardship and Efficient Resource Utilization
Valley Meats recognizes that our actions both as a corporate citizen and as individuals have an impact on our natural environment. We believe we should seek to run every facet of our business in a sustainable manner in order to conserve the environment and minimize our impact upon it. Our goal is to pursue continuous improvement that is good for business and good for the environment. We believe that efficient use of resources, reduction of waste and productivity improvements are an integral part of this effort. Some examples of our environmental sustainability efforts are set forth below.
- We use Kamps and Chep pallet programs which reuse pallets to reduce waste
- We recycle over 95% of our cardboard packaging waste
- We are expanding our recycling process to include plastic and paper
- As part of a significant building remodeling project in 2013, we installed energy efficient windows in our maintenance and upstairs warehouse area and energy efficient lighting in our lower production area
- We have installed motion activated light switches and low energy light bulbs throughout our facility
- As part of a 2014 plant expansion, we are installing a new “instant on” hot water system to conserve both energy and water usage.
- Valley has replaced its entire truck fleet since 2012 with EPA-compliant diesel engines which reduce Nitrogen Oxide emissions and increase fuel efficiency
- Valley manages its fleet to maximize load size while recognizing driver welfare
- Valley seeks to obtain backhauls both for its own fleet and for the fleets of its customers
FACILITY AND ENTERPRISE IMPROVEMENT
- Valley has installed a new computer system, which allows the Company to track production waste and productivity. Valley believes these improvements are an integral part of its resource sustainability program
- Valley has installed RGF Environmental wall mounted REME units for Air Purification throughout its facility. These units utilize UV light and its wave spectrum to create low levels of ozone that over time reduce or eliminate environmental contaminants and airborne pathogenic bacteria.
Employee Welfare and Development
We believe that properly compensated, trained and motivated employees are our greatest asset and enable us to meet our mission of providing the safest protein products which meet or exceed our customers' expectations as to quality and service in a sustainable manner. We seek to provide an environment where our employees:
- Are monetarily rewarded and provided with a robust benefits package in consideration for their performance and contributions to our success
- Are provided with a safe and healthy environment
- Have opportunities for personal and career development through training, education and potential career path evolution
Some of our efforts to provide this environment for our employees are detailed below:
- Valley Meats provides a starting wage significantly above required minimum wage with guaranteed first-year raises, and provides a full palate of employee benefits including an excellent medical plan for employees, spouses and family, and a bargain employee meat purchase program
- Valley Meats provides training seminars for its employees on items like HAACP programs and workplace safety and health
- Valley Meats has daily tool box training sessions on items ranging from best manufacturing and sanitation practices to food safety to workplace safety to health and hygiene improvements
- Valley Meats 2014 addition includes new break and facilities rooms for employees
- Valley Meats believes in supporting the communities where its employees live and where the employees of its customers live. In this regard, we have given product to school systems and municipal departments, provided charitable contributions to organizations in our community and provided scholarship assistance through customer foundations.
We believe our Vendors should subscribe to the same corporate responsibility and sustainability principles we follow. This is particularly true with respect to Food Safety Programs. We require our potential vendors to complete an extensive Supplier Approval Questionnaire prior to doing business with them. We also continually check their performance for food safety and compliance with our incoming quality requirements.