Nati Larrea

European SCM Quality Manager, General Mills

1. Why did you choose a career in food safety and quality?

I live in an area where there are many farms and agricultural products. I was very impacted by that atmosphere and the way those workers took their roles very seriously, from the farms to the delivery of products to the consumer. This is their life and I wanted to be part of the “big family” that food processors are.

2. What are the main responsibilities in your role?

Delivering to our company and our consumers a safe and homogeneous product that delights them. This can be achieved through working with suppliers towards implementation of a Food Safety and Quality mindset.

3. What are the biggest challenges you face on a daily basis?

The biggest challenge we face is the potential for food fraud. It is not easy to find emerging issues that we have not faced in the past. Also, considering how fast the organizations grow and change, being flexible to adapt to those is challenging in some cases. We need to have an open mindset and transmit that to the team. This also means that as people and roles change, we need to involve the right partners at the right time and there needs to be a fluid communication flow between the different stakeholders.

4. How do you envisage the role of food safety and Quality changing in the next 5years?

As our consumers raise their awareness and expectations for safe and quality food, the global food industry cannot be complacent with our current food safety programs, but look to continuously find ways to improve our knowledge and capability to prevent food safety events. At the same time, we need to ensure consistent quality products that our consumers expect. Consistency is achieved through reliability of our materials, of our manufacturing lines, and in our processes

5. In your opinion what are the three most crucial factors when considering Food QA?

- Food Safety is a must, we need to be conscious about the importance of our work, as the products we make can be eaten by anyone so we need to make sure they are safe.
- Trust of our consumers on the way we handle and produce our products.
- Homogeneous quality product: consumers find what they are looking every time they eat our products.