Traceability delivers safety

One of the cornerstones of Valio’s corporate responsibility and a guarantee of product quality and safety is the traceability of the ingredients that go into making the company’s products.

First and foremost, this applies to the clean, high-quality milk whose origin can be traced back to an individual dairy farm. Quality and safety derive from Valio’s systematic methods of operation at each phase of production, and quality control starts at the farm.

We know the origin of our milk

Milk is collected from Valio dairy farms every other day where our milk producers track the quality of milk from each cow and the temperature of the raw milk in the farm tank.

The milk collection lorry driver checks the temperature, aroma and appearance of the milk at the farm before pumping it into the lorry, and also takes farm-specific milk samples. These types of sample are analysed on a regular basis.

The driver conducts a microbial drug residue test before the milk is syphoned from the lorry into a production plant’s silo. The temperature of each milk batch is measured and a sample taken for quality and composition analyses.

We know what we’re buying

The most important values Valio imposes on its suppliers concern quality. Audits and supervision target suppliers of ingredients that are used in their native form in Valio products. We investigate the composition of auxiliaries and additives while suppliers must provide detailed information in writing on the ingredients and their origin.

If a product of the same standard has one supplier in each of two countries, Valio favours the supplier whose national domicile is known to comply with the regulations of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) or where general conditions are otherwise stable. Domestic suppliers are favoured when the offering presents similar purchasing terms and quality.

The most important selection criterion for many ingredients such as wild berries is domestic origin, their availability in Finland at harvest time.

Case: Tracing the origin of butter

Valio’s reporting system can within just a few hours trace the origin of milk used for a specific batch of butter. The details on the butter package stamps are checked for the consecutive numbers denoting pallet and batch, and for the production date. Or the export order number alone is sufficient to start the tracing process and enables us to determine which butter machine was used to manufacture the batch. The machine report specifies which silos the cream was drawn from.

The cream in each silo is produced from several milk batches which can be traced using Valio’s two milk databases. One holds generalised information on the milk from all producers, while the other includes details on the milk collected and on the collection routes.

The raw milk batches employed in cream production can be traced all the way back to an individual dairy farm using the collection route numbers.