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OSI Group: Industry leader in food safety and quality assurance

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Although much has changed over the course of OSI Group’s 112 years in business, the company’s commitment to food safety and quality assurance has remained constant.

German immigrant Otto Kolschowsky unwittingly gave birth to OSI Group in 1909 when he established his own butcher shop as a sole proprietorship in the greater Chicago area. Once he had brought his children into the business, Mr. Kolschowsky rechristened the shop Otto & Sons in 1928.

After operating as a successful regional distributor of meat for a number of years, Otto & Sons began supplying a national restaurant chain in the mid1950s. That’s when this family-owned and operated business attracted the attention of Ray Kroc, the business mastermind who was responsible for franchising McDonald’s restaurants and essentially creating the fast-food chain as the world has come to know it.

In 1955, Ray Kroc was just beginning to expand the McDonald’s brand through a network of franchise locations, and he was in immediate need of a supplier of fresh ground beef patties to meet the growing demand for McDonald’s hamburgers. After meeting with Otto Kolschowsky’s sons, he made a handshake deal to seal a gentlemen’s agreement that made Otto & Sons the first official supplier of fresh meat for McDonald’s as the groundbreaking restaurant chain spread across the United States.

Otto & Sons’ partnership with McDonald’s fueled exponential company growth that has continued for nearly seven decades. Otto and Sons opened its first dedicated facility for McDonald’s in West Chicago, Illinois in 1973.

After changing its name to OSI Industries in 1975, the company began to expand far and wide, opening a second major food processing facility in West Jordan, Utah in 1977 and bringing its operations overseas to Germany in 1978, to Spain in 1980, to Brazil in 1982, and to Australia in 1989.

Today, the firm is known as OSI Group and operates all around the world, offering concept-to-table solutions to leading companies in the global foodservice and retail food industry with a focus on driving consumer satisfaction. OSI leverages its outstanding culinary skills and international flavor expertise to provide customized food solutions that fit the unique specifications of each partner. It also offers dependable and efficient supply chain assistance with a firm commitment to sustainable practices and processes. OSI can even help restaurants with menu item selection and menu creation through its innovative research and design facilities.

From its headquarters in the Chicago-area city of Aurora, Illinois, OSI Group oversees exceptional food safety and quality assurance practices that are unsurpassed at the global level. As stated on its official website, “Many of the largest food brands in the world trust OSI Group to provide unsurpassed food safety and food quality assurance because they know it ensures brand security.”

In short, OSI Group has a long history of designing and managing supply chain systems that protect the products, brand image, and public reputation of its partners. Its highly stringent policies reflect standards that exceed common industry regulatory requirements, and it stays abreast of the latest in quality procedures and technologies by conducting routine audits in food safety, HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) management, GMP (good manufacturing practices), global standardization, and animal welfare.

OSI Group ensures that all employees complete comprehensive GMP training as part of their initial job orientation and on an annual basis thereafter. It also evaluates its food safety and quality assurance measures on an ongoing basis both through its regular audits and its daily tracking in areas that range from process control measures, HACCP deviation trending, and sanitation microbiological to environmental surveillance results.

Beyond its internal food safety and quality assurance endeavors, OSI Group has worked to promote proper safety practices among the public as a participant in Food Safety Week. Through a series of food safety fairs, among other outreach initiatives, OSI has endeavored to keep families safe through the proper preparation of nutritious, home-cooked meals. Specifically, it addressed issues such as hand washing, cleaning cookware and dishes, keeping perishable foods cold, separating raw foods from ready-to-eat items in the refrigerator, and using a food thermometer to ensure that cooked meat is safe to consume.

In recent years, OSI Group has hosted the European Supplier Quality Summit and in 2019, its UK facility earned its sixth Sword of Honour for Exemplary Health and Safety Efforts from the British Safety Council.

Coupled with its longstanding reputation for exceptional food safety and quality assurance, OSI Group’s outstanding financial success makes it an exceptional strategic business partner by nearly any standard or metric. Taking in roughly $6.3 billion in revenue in 2020, the company ranked 66th on the Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies.

Other benefits of partnership with OSI Group include its unparalleled ability to connect with its suppliers and customers and deliver targeted solutions to specific problems. Even better, it does all of this for a price point that is highly competitive.

When it comes to partnering with OSI Group, Dave McDonald, president and chief operating officer, highlights the supreme value of its widespread reach and extensive market versatility. Although it may seem counterintuitive at first glance, the large size of OSI Group actually allows it to move with more agility through the global supply chain landscape.

“Customers need contingency plans to protect their brands,” McDonald explains. “We have processes in place internally to handle any external event, so our customers aren’t forced to coordinate with three, four, or five different suppliers in different parts of the world.”

Story by Sumeet Manhas


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