It is hard to believe that I have been working in the Holland, Michigan facility for a little more than a month now. The plant has a special place in the hearts of the townspeople as the facility has been operating since 1897 (!). Almost everyone I meet shares as sentimental story about the “old Heinz plant” and Its pickle-y smell. I have been placed in the Food Safety and Quality Department here; we work to ensure that the products being made are both delicious and safe. Holland produces Heinz Mustard, BBQ sauce, Vinegar, Grey Poupon, and pickles of all varieties. Pickle season, which takes place over the summer, is coming to an end; it was fascinating to learn about the fermentation and packaging of such a classic food. Many people do not realize that the cucumbers are fermented outdoors in giant containers the size of swimming pools- it’s amazing!
The quality department has been working hard to finish out the pickle season strong while preparing for our important internal audit. The learning curve has been steep here, which is good. I have started taking on the roles of a Quality Supervisor which includes environmental swabbing, holding and releasing product, generating and verifying certificates of analysis for incoming and outgoing ingredients, and much more. I have done a few small projects related to the weight specifications of pickles and vinegar but have been slow to start on my yellow belt project. The CI Manager and I have started working on an exciting project which aims to lower the Brix (%) of our BBQ sauces. We have the potential to reduce the amount of sugar going into the BBQ sauces. The Brix project requires efforts from the Quality, CI, and R&D departments which is very exciting. I look forward to working with these groups and meeting up with my fellow trainees in a few weeks’ time.
Make sure you Ketchup with us next week because we are a pretty big Dill (pickle jokes).