Material Issue 2 Providing Safety and Reliability through Products and Stores

Building Quality Control Systems

Seven & i Holdings is working to introduce international management system standards and management methods regarding quality and hygiene in order to provide safe and reliable products to customers.


Establishing a Foundation for Quality Control in Each Group Company

At Seven & i Group companies, their quality control department checks the safety of products before they purchase and handle them. Seven & i Holdings is working to establish quality control systems, recognizing that a product incident at one Group company affects the entire Group. Quality control managers at the development division for the Seven Premium line of Group private brand products, 12 Group companies that handle food products, and 10 that handle apparel and household items meet regularly to share their policies and information. These activities are designed to prevent incidents and strengthen the Group’s ability to respond rapidly when incidents occur. Specifically, Group companies have established the following foundation for quality control.

Establishing a Foundation for Quality Control

  • A system in which specialized quality control departments can objectively determine responses to incidents
  • A system for reporting a serious incident quickly to the President and Representative Director
  • Guidelines for judging whether to recall products or continue sales if a serious incident occurs

Quality Control Training for Employees

The Seven & i Group provides quality control training to its merchandisers that handle product development and procurement as well as staff in charge of stores to prevent product-related accidents. At Seven & i Holdings and each Group company that handles food products, ongoing food allergy training is provided each year to all who handle in-store food preparation at each group company, and it covers how to display food allergy information, rules for preventing allergy-related incidents, and so on.

Seven & i Holdings conducted food allergy training for 1,651 target individuals in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020. Since HACCP※1 will be institutionalized in 2020 (revision in the Food Sanitation Act), in June 2020, HACCP training for food products※2 on the importance of HACCP and precautions in food manufacturing and processing was conducted for 1,210 individuals. In addition, for those who handle apparel and household items, the entire Group conducts textile training and Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Act training through external inspection organizations.

Textile training is for those handling textile products (apparel, bedding, etc.), basic textile training is for newly appointed staff, and textile material training and textile sewing training are for existing staff. In addition to knowledge about laws and regulations, such as Household Goods Quality Labeling Act, this training allows them to learn about the process that progresses from thread to textile/knitting, dyeing, sewing, and inspection, as well as process management for manufacturing factories, case studies on defective product incidents, and more. Through this training, we aim to provide our customers with safe and high-quality products.

  • HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point): A process management system that analyzes hazards at each step of production, from ingredient acceptance through to product finalization, and provides continuous monitoring and recording of critically important hazard prevention processes.
  • Operating companies subject to food HACCP (e-learning) training: York Mart, SHELL GARDEN, Sogo & Seibu, and Gottsuobin (*Other operating companies that handle food products carry out their own custom HACCP training)

Results of Training Held by Seven & i Holdings in the Year Ended February 29, 2020

Training Details Participants Ratio Target
Food allergy training※1 1,651


Those handling in-store food preparation
Basic textile training※2 58 64% Those handling procurement of textile products such as apparel and bedding
Textile material training※2 55 44% Those handling procurement of textile products such as apparel and bedding
Textile sewing training※2 62 39% Those handling procurement of textile products such as apparel and bedding
Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Act training 205 64% Those handling procurement of apparel and household items
  • Target operating companies for food allergy (e-learning) training: York Mart, SHELL GARDEN, IY Foods, Sogo & Seibu, and Gottsuobin(※Other operating companies that handle food products carry out their own custom allergy training)
  • Target operating companies for textile (basic/material/sewing) training and Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Act training: Seven-Eleven Japan, Ito-Yokado, Sogo & Seibu, Akachan Honpo, THE LOFT, Nissen, Barneys Japan, and Oshman's Japan

Participation in Industrial Groups Related to Food Safety and Quality Control

Seven & i Holdings became one of the founders of the Japan Food Safety Management Association (JFSM)※1, established in 2016 as the primary Japan-created operating body for food product safety management standards, along with food product manufacturers both in Japan and overseas partnered with food-related companies. We did this in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and university researchers with the goal of responding to the increased handling of imported foods (globalization) in Japan and improving domestic food safety management. By utilizing the JFS standard※2 developed by this association, we aim to improve food quality as a retail group that is building a supply chain.

Currently, eight group companies※3 that handle food products have become JFSM members and are promoting the improvement of food safety management levels within the Group. In addition, we are proceeding with the acquisition of JFS standard certification and conformance certification for factories that manufacture original daily products such as the Group's “Seven Premium” private brand products and Seven-Eleven boxed lunches, rice balls, sandwiches, delicatessen items, noodles, bread, and pastries.

  • An organization that creates and operates a Japanese food safety management standard (the JFS standard) and its certification/conformance certification system.
  • A Japanese food safety management standard developed by JFSM that conforms to international standards that include Codex HACCP.
  • Seven-Eleven Japan, Ito-Yokado, York Benimaru, York Mart, SHELL GARDEN, Sogo & Seibu, Gottsuobin, Seven & i Food Systems

Obtaining Certification of Food Safety Management Standards that Conform to International Standards

Seven-Eleven Japan has adopted the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) method since 1997 as a method to manage food hygiene aimed at improving the level of quality management during food production. Nihon Delica Foods Association (NDF)※1 has developed its own NDF-HACCP Certification System for labor-intensive industries producing small lots of many varieties, and we have obtained this certification for all our factories. Moreover, in October 2018, in response to the institutionalization of HACCP, we set the goal of acquiring JFS standard※2 certification/conformance certification, which conforms to international standards. In March 2020, all dedicated factories (165 factories) that manufacture original products such as boxed lunches, rice balls, sandwiches, delicatessen items, noodles, bread, and pastries obtained certification and conformance certification. Similarly, we are working on obtaining certification and conformance certification related to food safety management standards that conform to international standards that include Codex HACCP, such as ISO 22000, FSSC 22000, and the JFS standard, at all manufacturing factories that produce the Group's “Seven Premium” private brand products. (As of the end of March 2020, 68% of our manufacturing factories have acquired certification.)

  1. The NDF was formed in 1979 to improve hygiene quality management levels at daily food manufacturing facilities and to eliminate region-based quality differences.
  2. JFS standard: A food safety management standard from Japan developed by the Food Safety Management Association (JFSM) that conforms to international standards that include Codex HACCP.

Issuance of "Compliance Certificate" for Manufacturing Plant Process Audit

The Seven & i Group sells private brand apparel and household items, such as the Group's “Seven Premium” private brand products, and other Group companies sell private brand products as well. To provide safe and secure products, we carry out process audits for manufacturing factories both in Japan and overseas (audits were conducted at 22 factories in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020).

Since there is no official certification for manufacturing factories that guarantees a level of quality control for apparel and household items, Seven & i Holdings has established its own standards, and each Group company carries out external audits through specialized external institutions. Seven & i Holdings issues a process audit “Compliance Certificate” to factories whose audit results have cleared certain standards.


Compliance certificate

Acquisition of GAP Certification

For our private brands “Vegetables with Traceability” and “Fruits with Traceability” at Ito-Yokado, we are recommending the acquisition of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) certification, an agricultural production process management method, in order to further improve the level of our quality management. GAP certification sets standards that should be implemented in day-to-day agricultural management to improve safety and protect the environment. Certification has been acquired by 200 producers as of February 29, 2020, and efforts will be made for further certification going forward.

Acquisition of ISO 22000 Certification

York-Benimaru Co., Ltd. acquired certification under ISO 22000, an international food safety management system, at its Otsuki Store in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture. Going forward, York-Benimaru will use the experience of acquiring ISO 22000 certification to introduce HACCP systems at all stores while training store employees. The company will also work to provide greater safety and confidence to customers regarding food products and enhance product quality in all stages from procurement to sale.

In addition, IY Foods, a Group food manufacturer, acquired ISO 22000 certification in August 2016.

Hygiene Management Based on ISO 9001

At Seven & i Food Systems, the QC Office that serves as the hygiene management department has acquired the ISO 9001 international standard concerning quality management (application scope consisting of food hygiene management system standards and provision at stores). In hygiene management, priority is placed on freshness management that is easy to understand and can be performed by anyone. The QC Office and others conduct checks at stores, and random checks of store hygiene are also conducted by a third-party hygiene inspection organization (wipe inspections). Store employees undergo periodic hygiene management training to raise hygiene management levels.


Response to Product Incidents and Implementation of Exercises

    Seven & i Holdings assumes the occurrence of product incidents and product defects within the Group. By conducting regular exercises, Seven & i Holdings and each group company mutually confirm the flow from the occurrence of an incident to investigations, reports, and corrections, and confirm the effectiveness of the incident response system.
    Should a product incident occur, the company promptly reports to the president and confirmations and decides corrective actions, and the department specializing in quality control confirms the implementation and completion of corrective actions.

External Recognition for Initiatives Addressing Quality Control

    Ito-Yokado received the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry PS Award three times, and it was certified as a gold product safety company in 2015. In 2020, Ito-Yokado was certified again as the gold company after receiving a follow-up check by the review committee and gained the single star Gold PS Award mark.
  • The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has been conferring this award since fiscal 2007 to raise awareness of corporate product safety and establish a culture of product safety that spreads the important value of product safety beyond the boundaries of companies to create a society where product safety is protected everywhere.
  • Every five years after certification, the review committee will follow up to see if the efforts being made at the time of certification are still being maintained.
  • Ito-Yokado received the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry PS Award in 2011, 2013, and 2015.
  • Ito-Yokado was certified as a gold product safety company in 2015.
  • Ito-Yokado was certified again as a gold product safety company in 2020.

☆あり PSアワードロゴマーク2020_ゴールド英語.jpg

single star Gold PS Award mark

Introduction of Cold Chains

Various leafy vegetables are used in 7-Eleven’s original daily foods (rice balls, sandwiches, stuffed bread, salads, delicatessen items, noodles, and so on). We began introducing cold chains (low-temperature distribution networks) in 2005 for low temperature transportation and processing in order to maintain high levels of freshness of produce from harvesting in the field to delivery to stores. Harvested vegetables are consistently maintained at low temperature in delivery vehicles, at sorting centers and processing factories, and until placement on store shelves. In addition, the active use of domestic produce in regions close to where it was harvested reduces energy use in transportation.

Cold chains (low-temperature distribution networks)

Inspection for Radioactive Substances

In response to an increase in inquiries since the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Seven & i Holdings Group voluntarily conducts inspections to complement the monitoring of radioactive materials that was carried out by the government, and we have posted details on our website.
For example, the Radioactivity Project was established as an internal organization at York-Benimaru to enable customers to shop with confidence by complementing the monitoring on radioactive substances implemented by the government. We install equipment for measuring radioactive substances at key points within the area where we have established stores, and an internal organization conducts regular inspections. The inspection results are announced on the company’s website. For the case of our private brand Three-Star Fruit and Vegetables, we endeavor to sell products that meet the criteria by having buyers visit production sites and conduct soil inspections and independent inspections on samples.
Inspections for radioactive substances are also conducted for Ito-Yokado’s Foods with Traceability and the results are published on the company’s website.

Initiatives for Material Issue 2