Food Safety and Quality

We operate highly integrated supply chains working with large-scale growers and smallholders to provide training, quality seeds and other inputs, coupled with the highest standards of quality and microbiological control at our processing plants in origin and in destination markets, thereby reducing food safety risks.


Under the guidance of our Manufacturing and Technical Services team, we manage over 180 major processing and manufacturing facilities across the world. Continued investment in achieving Safety, Health, Quality and Supporting Sustainability is essential to delivering quality products reliably to our 25,000 customers.

Our processed product range includes: peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, sesame, rice, cashew, coffee, cocoa, spices, as well as our Packaged Foods Business in Africa where we manufacture consumer products such as biscuits, pasta, and yoghurt drinks.

We have adopted the systematic preventative approach called Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). It addresses physical, chemical and biological hazards across the operation as a means of prevention rather than relying on finished product inspection. We focus on FSSC 22000 or BRC certification for our food processing plants. Read about our targets and process in the 2019 Annual Report under Manufactured Capital.

Improving quality and traceability in emerging market supply chains

As well as helping smallholder farmers to improve their yields we advise on quality and reducing post-harvest losses. This is critical because good quality means they can command a premium, whilst preventing wastage means they improve their incomes. In addition to training farmers in Good Agricultural Practices, we invest in farmer resource centres, warehouses, drying floors to prevent soil contamination and solar dryers.

Smallholders live in some of the most remote parts of the world where often roads are nothing more than dirt tracks. Collecting a sack of cocoa or coffee from every farmer is highly inefficient. We therefore work with farmers to help them form groups or cooperatives where they bring their crop to a central warehouse. Here the crop is weighed and stamped, ready for collection by Olam. This is supported by numerous advances in technology.

On our own plantations, and with our large-scale farmers, we develop biodiversity action plans to maintain and monitor the environmental balance between pests and a healthy crop. Products are routinely tested for residues to ensure food safety standards are met. Through our sustainabiliy programmes and our Supplier Code, we educate smallholders on the same factors. We are also strong advocates of maximising the methods supplied by nature to help reduce pesticide use – Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

The University of California, Davis, describes IPM as focusing “on long-term prevention of pests or their damage by managing the ecosystem. With IPM, you take actions to keep pests from becoming a problem, such as by growing a healthy crop that can withstand pest attacks, using disease-resistant plants, or caulking cracks to keep insects or rodents from entering a building. Rather than simply eliminating the pests you see right now, using IPM means you’ll look at environmental factors that affect the pest and its ability to thrive. Armed with this information, you can create conditions that are unfavourable for the pest.”

Integrated Pest Management in India

Our chilli ‘backward integrated' programme in India, sources from around 1,000 farmers in the Guntur region. By sourcing IPM chilli, free of pesticide residues, it dramatically reduces Aflatoxin, and meets all major food safety norms in the EU and USA. As a result of the programme, costs have declined for Indian farmers, pesticide inputs are down and average crop yields are up.

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