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Reducing processing risk

Following the acquisitions of ADM Cocoa and McCleskey Mills (peanuts) in 2015, our processing footprint increased significantly, particularly in Europe.


MMI added 2 peanut shelling facilities and a number of buying points and warehouses in Georgia, USA. With the ADM Cocoa acquisition, we added eight cocoa processing facilities in Canada, Brazil, Netherlands, Germany, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and Singapore.

Our processed product range includes: peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, sesame, rice, cashew, coffee, cocoa, spices and vegetable ingredients, as well as our packaged foods business in Africa where we are manufacturing 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 adopt Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) across our facilities and 5S is now also a requirement. This has further improved housekeeping and employee ownership.

By the end of 2015, 67% of the top 61 processing units had achieved FSSC 22000 or BRC certification. This was slightly below our 2014 target but due to the acquisitions, the number of sites had increased from 50 to 61.

By February 2016, two plants in Nigeria for our Packaged Foods Business had already been certified bringing us back in line with our goal of 100% of secondary/midstream processing plants being certified by 2020.

Our primary processing units are governed by our mandated QEHS policies, standards and codes of practice. In addition to self-audit, they are subject to regular audits by regional EHS managers, and customers.

To read more about the QEHS policies underpinning our operations, please refer to the How We Do It section of this report.

Sesame in Nigeria – a truly integrated model addressing food safety, livelihoods, and water consumption

Sesame is an annual crop with a labour intensive harvest, usually grown by small-scale farmers. The plants can grow with minimal rainfall where other crops cannot. Production has shifted increasingly to Africa, where organic cultivation has proved popular in many markets.

Olam is the number one global supplier of sesame worldwide, with over a decade of experience and operations in 7 African countries. In Nigeria we work with 1,800 farmers (of whom 680 are women) under the Olam Livelihood Charter where our ‘training of the trainer’ initiative has increased the on-farm
yields by 100% in the last 5 years.

The sesame grown by these farmers then goes to our new mechanical sesame plant in Lagos which began production in 2015. By integrating smallholders to the processing unit, it unlocks mutual value by assuring supply for Olam, a market for the smallholders as well as creating rural employment. As the first mechanical sesame processing facility in Nigeria, the processing plant and warehouse were custom-designed and house state-of-the-art equipment. The facility meets the highest international standards having achieved FSSC 22000 and OHSAS 18001-2007 certification for hygiene, quality, and health and safety for edible grade sesame, while minimising environmental impacts such as water consumption.

The traditional process for hulling the sesame can consume up to 5,000 litres of water per MT of product input, but our modern plant is based on a new technology that reduces the water consumption by up to 95%. Dry hulling not only helps in preserving water, but the sesame is safer for human consumption as contaminated water is the source of most potential pathogens. Olam is also one of the only sesame companies in Africa to have an in-house Aflatoxin testing facility. We have the largest market share in Japan which has some of the highest food safety standards in the world.

Next section: Innovating for quality and changing trends