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Bushmills leads the way on food safety

Even when you've been a beloved brand for centuries, like Bushmills Irish Whiskey, you should never stop looking for ways to improve quality. So when we began seeking a new food safety certification for every one of our manufacturing sites, our Old Bushmills distillery in Northern Ireland became the first to achieve it.

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Consumer safety is always an essential focus for our brands, so we're continually on the look-out for ways to improve quality assurance. This year we began a programme to achieve food safety certification FSSC 22000 (TS22002-1), an international standard for food safety systems in the food manufacturing industry.

At Old Bushmills, the team launched a project to gain accreditation. Implemented by the existing food safety and quality team, led by Helen Mulholland, and backed by the whole leadership team, it involved all employees in a one-day training session to build their capability in food safety. The initiative was linked to our building manufacturing excellence programme which helped it gain momentum and become part of the site's day-to-day ways of working.

The audit began in October 2012, and covered all operations including distilling, warehousing, and bottling; accreditation was successfully achieved in December 2012. The team held an open day for colleagues from other sites across the region to share what they had learnt, and help them achieve the same high standard.

Asked how they had got there, Site Director Gordon Donoghue commented: 'It's all about safety, not food or health, but overall safety. It is at the heart of everything we do and is treated with the same degree of respect and focus.'