Gills Onions are the best in the business. We’re not afraid to make these bold claims, because we stand behind our product. Everything we do from seed to packing and shipping is centered around delivering the best fresh cut onions in the industry.
Food safety is a large part of ensuring that our line of value-added products is not only delicious but also clean and safe for every customer. This year, Gills Onions scored a 100% on the SQF Audit, a testament to the standards we maintain (and strive to supersede) as we work.
Why the SQF Audit matters
SQF stands for Safe Quality Food and is a national, third-party food safety certification and quality program with a strict set of guidelines businesses must follow. During an SQF Audit, a certified inspector conducts an extensive on-site review, typically over several days, of a processor’s facility, processes, and documentation for the last year. The audit reviews whether or not you are keeping the standards for a safe food environment. It also tracks whether or not a business is keeping proper documentation for all of its processes and products. Finally, it gives each organization an opportunity to validate that their systems are achieving their goals and producing safe foods.
The goal of the audit is to become a SQF-Certified Site. The SQF Institute states, “Achieving this certification is not only a testament to your hard work, it is also a credible demonstration of your commitment to food safety.” By scoring 100% on our latest SQF Audit, Gills Onions demonstrated that we uphold the highest standards for food safety.
Keeping our food safe
Every Gills onion goes through an HACCP-approved cleaning process with chlorine dioxide treated water, metal detection, and strict temperature controls. Our in-house laboratory is fully equipped with expert staff members that oversee and verify the cleanliness of both our product and our equipment.
At Gills, every employee from the maintenance department to the production team receives food safety training. We believe that food safety goes far beyond the packaging room. That’s why we monitor the conditions of our cooler, our shipping dock, our storage warehouse, and even the outside perimeter of our facility.
We also pride ourselves on our level of communication between departments. Our department heads meet daily — more than the weekly standard — to review practices in all areas of the company and offer ideas for improvement.
Continuing to advance food safety standards
During the SQF Audit, we were asked multiple times how we planned to continuously improve our approach to food safety. That’s one of the reasons we love the SQF. It isn’t a one time score. The guidelines are always updating and improving, raising the bar for companies like ours.
Our mission is to always be conscious of innovations and improvements we can make that help us be safer, work cleaner, and continue to provide quality products for future generations.
For example, we are currently replacing our peelers with the latest technology — even though the current peelers still work to standard. Some organizations may take the point of view of “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” but at Gills Onions we are always striving for the best, most efficient, and safest equipment. We’re also working on a new bagger that will minimize personnel contact with our finished products.
As we move into another year of production, we’re excited for the opportunity to maintain our 100% SQF Audit score and to continue to deliver the safest, most delicious onions to customers like you.
Ready to try onions grown “The Gill Way”? Contact our sales department to learn more.