Fruits and vegetables sold by Libby’s International are distributed and in most cases produced by our parent company, Seneca Foods Corporation. Seneca and the Libby’s team take responsibility for our actions seriously and encourage a positive impact on the environment, consumers, employees and communities.
We conduct our business in a responsible manner with a firm commitment to our longstanding fundamental beliefs below. These values greatly influence every aspect of our Libby’s business. The first three beliefs center on maintaining the highest standards for protecting the worker and the environment, protecting the integrity of the product and food safety, and conducting business with integrity in all business matters at all times
As one of the largest producers of fruits and vegetables in North America, one of our primary responsibilities is to be trusted stewards of the assets that we manage. With over 20 production plants, Seneca and our employees share a common bond with our farmer partners, our suppliers, the communities in which we operate, and with the millions of consumers who trust us to help feed their families.
We understand that being good corporate citizens with safe and sound environmental, sustainability, and safety practices are not just requirements or rules, but rather shared beliefs which we promote each day.
“We will continue to grow as a leader in the fruit and vegetable industry by remaining deeply rooted in our fundamental beliefs and through a shared commitment to those we serve.”
- Seneca will always maintain the highest standards for protecting the worker and the environment.
- Seneca will protect the integrity of the product and food safety.
- Seneca will conduct itself with integrity in all business matters at all times.
- Employees will be treated with respect and will look to promote from within to provide advancement opportunities to our employees and develop loyalty.
- Management will be accountable for their responsibilities.
- Seneca will keep well-maintained plants.
- Good news can wait, bad news can’t.
- Seneca will be vertically integrated where it makes sense.
- Seneca will be low key in our industry.
- Move the pack and get rid of aged and slow moving stock.
- Seneca will be the best at what we do and be a leader in the eyes of our customer.
- Decisions will be based on protecting and improving shareholder value.
Effective environmental conservation requires strong practices in the usage of water, energy, and soil. Only then can we minimize the impact our business has on the environment. Among our fundamental beliefs is our commitment to protect the environment we live and work in. We are constantly developing and implementing new systems and procedures that not only keep us in compliance with ever-changing regulations, but also reflect our dedication to preserving a healthy environment.
Our roots run deep in agriculture. Protecting our natural resources is a responsibility and an honor that we take very seriously. Sustainable practices are a core belief at Seneca and we will continue to search for new and more effective means to protect our environment. From our Seed Research Team to the farm and the table, we make products in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, working in partnership with our many growers.
The key to our commitment to be environmentally friendly starts at the beginning with ”the seed”. We believe the only way to be sustainable is to promote those things which we grow. That is why we have our own seed breeding program for seed development which includes our own seed receiving and packaging operations. These operations consist of a research and development team that also work hand in hand with agricultural colleges and state universities such as Oregon State University, University of Wisconsin, Cornell University, and Iowa State University. Our breeding program helps us produce seeds with higher yielding potential which in turn reduces the acres necessary for our crops, thereby reducing our carbon footprint. As we breed new seeds, we strive to produce a seed that is more pest resistant, allowing us to protect the environment through reduced application of pesticides.
Since recycling is a key component of waste reduction,we are committed to finding ways to process used materials into new products. These programs allow us to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, and decrease air and water pollution. To date we have initiated programs which reuse fruit and vegetable by-products as feed for livestock and nutrients for soil; utilize waste to produce energy for use in the manufacturing process; and reduced the amount of waste delivered to landfills through packaging optimization and in plant recycling programs.
We understand that water is a valuable resource and as such, needs to be protected. That is why water conservation starts in the field. With the additional pressure on this resource, our farms and farmers we contract with are taking proactive steps in reducing the use of water. Several of the steps that have already taken place include; converting almost all high pressure irrigation systems to low pressure allowing less evapotranspiration and less energy use. Several of our growers are also using soil probes to aid them in less application of water, thus conserving energy and water usage.
Transportation Policy & Efficiency
Seneca strives to ship our Libby’s product in the most efficient manner. As part of our initiative on the Frozen side of our business, we have leased 30 Frozen rail cars (Cryotrans) to ensure that we can move our frozen product in the most efficient manner. We also move our canned product on rail whenever possible. This has resulted in a savings of over 61,000 tons of Greenhouse Gas emissions vs. trucking product. Our plants and warehouses are also located near our customer base which allows for timely and efficient shipping of product.
Forklift LP Reduction
We have taken strides in replacing our propane lift trucks with electric lift trucks, allowing us to reduce emissions. Since 2007 we have doubled our electric lift trucks while reducing the propane lift trucks in the same time period with a projection to have more electric then propane by 2016.
From the farm to the table, energy affects every aspect of the process used to provide quality products to our consumers. We will continue to search for ways to reduce energy through installation of energy efficient equipment, modifications in manufacturing processes, and possible implementation of a Power and Management Solution Energy Analysis Program.
Reducing Our Carbon Footprint
EPA requires reporting for over 25,000 metric ton of emissions of CO2 greenhouse gases (methane, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide). All of our plants use natural gas (cleanest fuel available) and are under this threshold. In the mid 90’s, oxidizers were installed in both can manufacturing plants which has allowed Seneca to reduce 1000’s of pounds of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s). We further participate annually in the CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project).
Seneca realizes the importance of packaging optimization to control the amount and types of resources utilized. Down gauging of steel in cans and ends, thermal oxidation and energy recovery on steel sheet coating, and use of water based compounds for steel coating have been implemented and successful at the plants. Reductions in can end weight have resulted in saving 5 lbs. of steel for every 1,000 of ends produced which further saves on resources and freight costs. Installation of state of the art thermal oxidizers has lowered volatile organic emissions, and saved natural gas consumption in Seneca coating operation. Furthermore, Seneca’s new drying units in the manufacturing of can ends now allow use of water based (versus solvent based compounds) which result in zero volatile organic emissions.
“Seneca will protect the integrity of the product and food safety”
We have numerous programs in place to ensure we are a leader in Food Safety. Our plants are certified against the British Retail Consortium (BRC) code, one of the schemes recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). We also have training programs, conduct and support numerous audits, and meet our regulatory compliance obligations, including the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA).
Quality begins with agricultural research. Investments made in information software allows us to enhance agricultural management, track pesticide usage, provide planting details, report point of origin, map GPS locations, and accommodate access of records for certification, auditing, and customer information requests. By further employing in-house agronomists and plant breeders, plus joint research projects with leading U.S. universities, Seneca makes sure all our Libby’s products has the right start towards providing our consumers high quality and safe products.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Experienced Field Staff and Environmental Coordinators are employed at each agricultural location to reduce and track all pesticide applications and ensure consistency throughout all operations. Integrated efforts between Agriculture and Operations personnel, plus growers, further leverage plant optimization that may allow reductions in pesticide use. We have implemented an Agricultural Information Management System to help us manage our agriculture practices. This proprietary system utilizes Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and has helped us to be more efficient, produce less waste when planting, apply fewer pesticides and be more efficient during harvesting . We have instituted a full scale IPM that has been instrumental in the reduction of pesticide applications, through better field management. Production fields are mapped, surveyed, and discussed with growers to protect ecologically sensitive areas.
The existence of manuals in Quality Control, Thermal Processes, Test Procedures, Grade Specifications, Warehouse, and Safety provide the fundamentals to producing safe, quality food at each of our facilities. The following systems and programs are in place as a foundation to providing the highest quality product possible.
- A Food Allergen Program is in place to isolate allergenic ingredients at each plant. We manufacture products that have allergenic ingredients in such a way that it minimizes the risk of inadvertent introduction of allergens and we ensure products with allergenic ingredients are labeled properly.
- Heat processing and hermetic sealing kill bacteria and prevent any microorganisms from spoiling the fruits and vegetables; plus seals in nutrients. A system called Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point assures that the canning process is monitored at all stages. Cans are tamper proof containers that protect the contents. HACCP plans are in place for all products produced. Teams review the plans on an annual basis and the plan is reviewed and authorized by our HACCP Coordinator.
- Requirements for metal detectors are documented in our Quality Control Manual including calibration requirements, what to do when an alarm sounds, and testing requirements for magnets.
- Our Sanitation Program includes a master schedule, and standard operating procedures.
- Continuing guarantees will be on file for all Raw Materials, with Certificate of Analysis for each lot being obtained.
- All customer complaints are forwarded to each respective plant where they are required to report on actions taken.
- New product development is initiated by our new products team. Two technical service individuals are on the new products team. The technical development of the products is handled with the existing technical services personnel.
- Thermal Processes: All thermal processes are approved by our in-house Thermal Process Authority; training programs are targeted towards thermal processing.
- Test Procedures: Microbiological testing occurs at all frozen facilities; analysis is completed on all frozen finished product, sanitary surveys, and environmental surveillance. Plant Inspections consist of continuous quality control monitoring with staff at each facility, computerized fill control checks every 30 minutes, visual seam inspections every 30 minutes, seam teardown inspections every 3 hours, and cooker checks every 30 minutes. Quality Control Audits are conducted to evaluate documents, procedures, processing and training records, equipment functionality, and operational, and employee practices. Internal auditing covers QSM, Thermal Processes, Sanitation, and Warehouse. Audits are completed for USDA, organic, kosher, organic, and GMI.
- Grade Specifications: Finished product specification documents are available for all products. Statistical Process Control is utilized in attribute grading and fill control with on-line inspections completed to determine product defect levels. Grading evaluations occur every hour and may include vacuum, color, flavor, sugar analysis, salt analysis, and center can temperature. Product auditing is completed on a weekly basis for all products produced the previous week. Finally, all canned product is on a mandatory five day hold and positive release.
- Training: To ensure all equipment, systems, and procedures are properly utilized, Seneca has a training process that addresses who must be trained and the frequency of the training. The subjects that are required to be trained annually include HACCP, GMP’s, Thermal Processing, Double Seams, Microbiology, Sanitation, and Chemical Handling.
We export a variety of packaging types to about 95 countries.
The ideal container for any food item should contain, protect, and allow for easy identification of its contents. At Seneca Foods, we focus on a number of characteristics when determining what type of packaging to use for all our products. Recyclability and impact on the environment, cost-effectiveness, eye-appealing design, and safety are just a few.
While they are not the newest container on the block, steel cans are certainly the most sustainable. They are one of the most recycled food package types, and greatly protect food products from air, germs, and damage during transport. No other package offers better protection of product quality.
In a diverse market, Seneca also understands the need to produce products with different types of packaging. By using plastic, we offer fruit products in attractive, user-friendly, convenient, safe, and hygienic containers. Finally, our frozen products are contained in poly bag pouches that are sealed to prevent spillage and allow customers to bring product from freezer to microwave.
We recognize that in order to achieve our vision, Seneca must continue its commitment to loyal employees and growers. Without the dedication and hard work of our grower partners and employees, achievement of our goals would not be possible. All in all, it is the combined team effort of every member of the Seneca family that will enable us to be successful in reaching it.
Our Grower Partners
The farmers that we work closely with are true partners . The relationship we have with over 2,000 growers is a trusted one. Not only as growers of high quality fruits and vegetables but also as stewards of the land, using sustainable farming practices when possible. The vast majority of the farmers are from family farms and orchards that Seneca has done business with for many years, and in some cases, for generations.
Our agriculture teams collaborate closely with our farmers on all aspects of the growing process, including recommendations on land selection, field preparation, fertility, planting, and crop maintenance throughout the growing season. For many of our crops, we provide the actual seeds to be planted, the equipment to plant the crop, and custom harvesting and hauling services to efficiently deliver the crop to our processing plants. We have representation on our Board of Directors from the grower community as well as the academic agriculture community from institutions such as Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
We have developed programs to empower our employees with the skills necessary to help them in making a difference to our company. These programs positively impact our employees and often the environment with reductions in waste. Two key programs are Seneca GROWS (Get Rid of Waste Systematically) and Seneca SAVES (Seneca Adding Value Employee System).
GROWS is an approach to learning based on a philosophy that job enrichment must come from uninhibited involvement of those affected. It highlights respect and understanding, and reinforces growth and engagement between the individual and the organization. At the center of GROWS is the development of a continuous improvement action plan. Action plans are instrumental in helping to reach many of Seneca’s objectives. Action plans are derived by reviewing situations in the work area that can be changed for improvement. Many action plans impact the areas of Quality, Human Safety, Cost Reduction, Productivity, or the Environment.
SAVES is an action oriented process improvement program founded on systematic lean problem solving, disciplined waste elimination, superior cost management, and iterative continuous improvements across the organization impacting areas such as quality, service delivery, and employee safety. The program is committed to supporting professional development and personal growth of employees by providing education, training, and direct coaching on the application of lean tools and methodologies. It also fosters a learning organization by promoting reflection, self-assessment, and learning from our experiences.