Safety starts with our people. Approximately 40 members of our staff are HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) certified. To put that number in perspective, most facilities only have one or two certified staff members.
We require ongoing training up to SQF (Safe Quality Food) Level 3, the highest level of food safety certification available, for all our of full-time employees. Our Quality Assurance director, managers, supervisors, president, procurement team, maintenance team, and even our sales team take part in these trainings. We believe that having every single team member involved in these trainings is critical to helping us consistently improve our operations.
Once aged meat is ready to be butchered, it passes through an ozonated water bath that eliminates bacteria. We use the same ozonated water system to clean our machinery throughout the day, creating an ongoing sanitation process. Every night, a specialized sanitation firm cleans our facility from floor to ceiling; this includes disassembling machinery and cleaning the parts individually. Finally, our team, the sanitation firm, and USDA inspectors test the facility every day before operations begin.
Our daily testing protocol, performed by internal and external teams, ensures that we’re always meeting and exceeding the highest safety standards. Each morning, a USDA inspector performs “pre-op” testing and bacterial analysis before any operations can begin. After passing USDA standards, we then send our HACCP-certified internal quality assurance team to retest our facility. After receiving a second confirmation, we begin our day.
We know that ground beef safety is a particular concern for many customers, so we’ve developed an SQF testing protocol that far exceeds USDA requirements. Starting with meat from audited and approved farms, we test every delivery upon arrival. Meat intended for grinding must pass analysis for multiple strains of E. coli before it can even enter our facility. Once processing begins, we pull samples for on-site testing every 15 minutes; no product is released until the test results are confirmed. Finally, we send weekly samples to an outside lab for validation testing to make sure our results are accurate—so there’s never a question of safety.