Control is better

The well-being of its customers is Migros’ top priority. For this reason, it only places products on its shelves which comply with the legal requirements, international standards and the company's own high quality requirements.

Migros wants to be certain that every one of its products is safe when eaten, used and disposed of. To guarantee the safety of its foods, Migros abides by the international Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). Migros demands from its domestic and foreign suppliers of processed foods as well as its own industrial enterprises that they be certified according to a standard recognised by the GFSI. The retailer monitors whether food or other products comply with the legal requirements and the Migros quality standards, which often exceed the former. The Swiss Quality Testing Services (SQTS), a directorate of the Federation of Migros Cooperatives, inspects the products as part of Migros' self-control with a risk-based approach. For products on the shelves, these tests are repeated as spot checks. In 2011 Migros conducted a total of 12 000 product tests; 11 products had to be recalled due to deficiencies.

Principle of precaution applied

With the use of an early warning system, Migros continuously monitors the developments and handling of hazardous substances. Where required or if no legal requirements exist, it defines directives. As such, it defined limits for polycyclic aromatic residues in non-food products in 2011. All suppliers must prove the observance of such requirements in declarations of conformity or test certificates. In addition, risk-based inspections of the ranges are continuously carried out. The retailer also applies the principle of precaution for genetically modified organisms. As regards the new nanotechnology, Migros provides transparency and keeps a list on its website of all nano products sold at Migros.

Safer food packaging

Product packaging should not only look good, but also protect the content and ensure food safety. But it sometimes happens that unwanted substances enter food from the package («migrate»). A problem which kept Migros busy last year is, for instance, the fact the print colour residues in recycled boxes can leak mineral oils. To minimise such unwanted effects as much as possible, Migros cooperates with suppliers, manufacturers and the authorities. But global solutions cannot be expected from this cooperation. For instance, it would be ecologically unsustainable to fall back on fresh fibre cardboard, which has no mineral oil residues. Depending on the production chain of the packaging, packaging material and its content, the migration risk is entirely different, and solutions are required on a case-by-case basis. Migros therefore conducts tests and materials measurements continuously and applies the findings gained in the production process.