Meat manufacturer and supplier RDF, the principal of retail meat store chain Fresh Options, prioritizes food safety in its operations.
RDF, or Red Dragon Farms established by veterinarian Dr. Robert Lo in 1988, has ensured that every aspect of its operations complied with both local and international food manufacturing standards particularly those of the National Meat Inspection Service and Food and Drug Administration. The company also complied with the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point and current Good Manufacturing Practices programs.
Although full compliance to the rigid protocols of said procedures was tedious, RDF said it believes in the importance of consistently producing quality meat products and avoiding product contamination.
“We at RDF are in the business of elevating the experience of food consumption by processing and packing safe and high-quality meat. We continuously challenge ourselves to improve our quality and food safety management system, and remain the most trusted and preferred brand of meat and meat products by our consumers,” says Dr. Camille Hernandez, head of RDF technical services and quality assurance division.
RDF conceptualized its company-owned, company-operated or Co-Co business strategy to ensure that it had full and sole control of each step of the supply chain. Thus, it ensures that every stage of its operations remained above or at the very least at par with the local and international guidelines.
The company is staffed with a team of experts who oversee the day-to-day operations. The team, which is composed of veterinarians and technical personnel, supervises the entire Co-Co process – from livestock breeding to retail distribution.
Under these specialists’ watchful eyes, farms are strictly monitored to ensure that livestock and poultry are only fed with clean, nutritious, plant-based feeds. Personnel also ensure that animals are treated humanely and housed in sanitary conditions to prevent the spread of disease or infection.
From there, livestock are brought to slaughterhouses that have been accredited by NMIS. The carcasses are then sent to company’s central depot for processing and production under the strict supervision of quality assurance associates. These slaughterhouses and plants meticulously adhere to strict sanitation and processing regulations to safeguard the quality of the meat.
Prior to production, all of the raw materials, such as fresh meat and ingredients, are carefully inspected and analyzed by the Quality Assurance Food Laboratory located inside the plant. Another rigorous evaluation is also conducted to fresh and processed meat after they have been dressed or produced. Meat and meat products are subjected to sensory, physical and microbial analyses prior to delivery to retail stores.
RDF’s attention to food safety guidelines does not end at its plants. Unlike other meat manufacturers, RDF assures the quality of its products up to its logistics and distribution chain. Through the use of its CO-CO refrigerated vans, it guarantees the product quality through the use of a climate-controlled system.
Once in stores, fresh cuts, marinated, ready-to-cook, ready-to-heat and value-added meat are only displayed in upright chillers and freezers to maintain their freshness. Compared to other suppliers who use traditional chest-type freezers that have varying temperatures inside the freezer, RDF ensures that its products are cooled at a constant and even temperature. In fact, store personnel monitor temperature by the hour.
To further complement RDF’s exacting food manufacturing procedures, it uses advanced food technologies to ascertain food safety. For instance it utilizes individual quick freezers or a type of blast-freezer that locks in the freshness of meat through very rapid freezing. These freezers help maintain the texture, taste, smell and nutritional content of the meat.
RDF also uses a metal detector that checks for the presence of metal particles during the production process. It also makes use of technologies such as the breading, battering and frying machine, Combination steamer oven, stuffer, tray sealer and braising pan to hasten production time and lessen the risk of contamination.
A huge factor in maintaining food safety and quality relies on RDF’s workforce. Production and sales personnel receive regular trainings on cGMP, HACCP, food safety, 5S and other procedures. Retail staff also receive added training on customer service. Aside from this, the company also posts guidelines inside each area of operation and employs corrective action should there be any deviations.