Blog: How Food Safety Protects Your Customers and Your Brand


For decades, food safety has been a major focus of leading processors and distributors of food and beverage products. The flurry of recalls and outbreaks during the 1990’s and the 2000’s uncovered the importance of having a cohesive food safety and product recall program.

Within the last few years, something else changed — the public’s access to information grew immensely.

News about foodborne illness outbreaks caused by poor sanitation and food safety spreads more rapidly than ever before. That not only means your customers are instantly aware of the connotations and consequences of your food safety issues, but it also means your brand could be negatively impacted just as quickly.

Taking on Food Safety Internally

Even before the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed in January 2011, several worldwide organizations focused on improving and promoting food safety throughout the supply chain. Unfortunately, these organizations lacked the ability to enforce the application of well-known food safety initiatives and guidelines.

However, major food processors and distributors began developing and implementing their own corporate food safety programs to protect their consumers and their brands. Some progressive processors even partnered with companies to develop joint programs, promote research and enhance the quality and integrity of the food supply chain.

Food Safety Focused Organizations

There are numerous organizations worldwide that focus on implementing and enforcing good manufacturing practices applicable to food and beverage. Each one targets specific markets, products, and geographical areas.

As a result, the industry must adhere to a comprehensive list of regulations, standards and codes that apply to all aspects of the food and beverage supply chain. Becoming knowledgeable and complying with all these regulations is paramount for all processors and distributors. A lack of compliance and follow up will prevent you from reaching consumers and distributors both domestically and internationally, while exposing you to severe situations that can harm consumers.

What You Need to Know

It is no longer just a matter of complying with codes and regulations but also a matter surviving in a very competitive market with a very sophisticated, informed and demanding consumer base.

We want to know how you respond to food safety regulations. Participate in our Food Safety Regulations survey now.

If you are interested in speaking to a Weitz Food Safety expert to discuss how you can update your facility’s food safety plan, contact us now.


Weitz Expanding its Minnesota Presence

The Weitz Company’s Minnesota commercial construction team today celebrated the ribbon cutting of its new office in Plymouth, Minn. The event was attended by leaders from The Weitz Company and the City of Plymouth, including Mayor Kelli Slavik, Economic Development Director Danette Parr and several Plymouth City Council members.

“It is a humbling and exciting experience to open this office with our team. We feel blessed to be able to work with so many great people at The Weitz Company, as well as the many outstanding clients, design firms and subcontractors in Minnesota. Our team is excited to continue building upon our core values and over 161 years of experience of helping our clients Build a Better Way,” said Weitz Minnesota Executive Dave Rahe.

The addition of a commercial office expands Weitz’s existing footprint in Minnesota. America’s oldest general contractor west of the Mississippi River first established roots in the North Star State in 2014 when Weitz Professional Services was created to deliver design-build solutions to industrial and agricultural clients across the country.

The Weitz Company’s Minnesota commercial construction team recently completed the sizable and award-winning Trillium Woods continuing care retirement community in Plymouth, as well as corporate office projects in St. Paul and Eagan, Minn. The company will break ground on the new corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility for Premier Marine in spring 2017 in North Branch, Minn.

Weitz Exhibits at ASTA CSS 2016 & Seed Expo

Weitz has been providing integrated project delivery services for over 40 years to leading seed producers who specialize in plant breeding, biotechnology and soil science.  Visit us at the ASTA CSS 2016 & Seed Expo, Booth #317 in Chicago, IL December 5-9, 2016 and let us tell you about our many seed service solutions, which range from bagging & packaging, cleaning & conditioning, husking & sorting, to robotics & palletizing, plant maintenance and so much more.  Whether you’re facing routine maintenance, a capital expenditure or modifications, Weitz can deliver the right services for one or multiple project phases.  We’d like to talk to you about how we can help you reach your goal of obtaining efficient, long-term operations.

Read more about our Seed expertise here

For more information about the ASTA CSS 2016 & Seed Expo, click here


Weitz to Receive Eagle Award of Excellence for Ozark Mountain Poultry Project

The Weitz Company will be presented an Eagle Award of Excellence by the Minnesota Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) for its help constructing the Ozark Mountain Poultry feed mill facility in Batesville, Ark.

The Minnesota ABC will honor Weitz with the first place award at its Awards of Excellence Banquet in Bloomington, Minn., on January 26, 2017. By winning the state award, Weitz has qualified to participate in ABC’s national competition that will present awards in March 2017.

Ozark Mountain Poultry was built by Weitz Industrial and had a scope of services that included project development, engineering, permitting, site development, civil, structural, mechanical and millwright installation. The signature feature of Ozark Mountain Poultry is the main mill structure that has a roof elevation of 189 feet. Weitz erected it using the slipform method of concrete construction.

In addition to the ABC Awards of Excellence, Weitz was also recently recognized by ABC with the following:

  • 2016 ABC STEP Platinum Award: The Safety Training Evaluation Process demonstrates the highest safety standards, the best safety practices and a proven track record of impeccable safety programs and performance.
  • 2016 ABC AQC Certified Contractor: An Accredited Quality Contractor is determined by a stringent and thorough set of criteria that demonstrate commitment to five key areas of corporate responsibility: Quality; Safety; Employee benefits; Training; and Community relations.

Weitz Delivering Nation’s Biggest Student Housing Project Ahead of Schedule

It’s the largest student housing project the United States has ever seen developed through a public-private partnership (P3) and The Weitz Company is turning units over early. The primary reasons: A fast-track design-build approach, great customer advocacy and heady strategic decisions.

A little over one year into the construction process, Texas A&M University students are already occupying a portion of Park West in College Station, Texas. Weitz has completed six out of 12 flats buildings on the project, opening 80 units and 144 beds in August with another 40 units and 72 beds delivered at the end of September. This initial milestone is validating the trust project developer Servitas had in selecting Weitz to build more than 1,300 units and 3,400 beds in the housing complex that will span 2.2 million square feet.

“Early turnover was not part of the original deal, but we uncovered how important it was to Servitas through good customer advocacy,” said Kevin McClain, president of Weitz’s Commercial business. “The advantages of early occupancy were expressed to us and we’ve worked collaboratively to accomplish it.”

To help Servitas attain this stretch goal, Weitz immediately went to work in preconstruction to identify critical schedule milestones and then implemented a fast-track methodology to achieve them. Some key factors included subcontractors design-build packages and subcontracting of major specialty items like large wood frames.

With firm commitments to Texas A&M for the project, Servitas approved this design-build delivery method as it enabled Weitz to provide cost certainty early in the process and minimized schedule risks for itself. While this approach was a significant gamble for both Weitz and PGAL (the architect for Park West) in the design phase, it allowed Servitas to seek optimal financing and begin construction sooner than what would have been possible in a construction management or hard bid delivery.

“Our previous experience with Servitas and transparent dealings that led to a fair contract gave us confidence in this plan and were key to getting a productive start on Park West,” McClain said.

Had Weitz not executed on its commitment to being good customer advocates, the opportunity to fulfill early occupancy may not have been possible since the original contract was for the project to be turned over all at once.

“Everything is relationship-based, understanding the customer and being a partner with them,” said Weitz Vice President Shane Bauer, who oversees senior living and student housing projects. “If we did not take the time to discover what was important beyond cost, quality and schedule, then it would have become very challenging to meet this expectation.”

Early occupancy was one of the top goals for Park West, which has a scheduled completion date of August 2017, but it was not the only ancillary project objective deemed valuable within the P3 between Servitas and Texas A&M. Customer advocacy also: 1) Identified the appropriate balance between local and national resources needed to drive the project efficiently; 2) Led to tailored communication within the P3 process Servitas and Texas A&M had structured; and 3) Created an engagement strategy with the students and potential residents of Park West. The net results have been resoundingly positive.

From a construction management perspective, it has enabled Weitz project executives to make swift, strategic decisions in a handful of situations because they already know what’s most important to the clients. It is also keeping uncontrollable variables like Mother Nature from hindering the project (there were 33 lost rain days in the first year that could have easily derailed the timeline). And it’s opened the door to several educational opportunities with Texas A&M engineering students via Oculus virtual tours, on-site classroom training and internship programs.

“The success of this project is measuring beyond the number of beds, types of amenities and square footage associated with it,” said Weitz Senior Project Manager Frank D’Ascanio. “We’re executing an elevated standard for building with a first-of-its-size housing project that is exceeding our clients’ expectations. That is the ultimate accomplishment.”