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Manager, QA and Safety - Joliet, IL 60433

Hickory Farms, LLC





Hickory Farms, LLC is a leading retailer of food gifts and specialty foods available online, in catalogs, in leading mass merchants, supermarkets and seasonal retail shopping locations in the US and Canada. In business since 1951, we are driven to be the best retailer in the food gifting space. Our corporate headquarters are in downtown Chicago, IL. We also have offices in Joliet, IL, Toledo, OH, and Toronto, Canada.

Hickory Farms is privately held with more than $150 million in revenue and is on an aggressive growth journey – combining both organic growth and acquisitive growth – developing new products, expanding into more gifting occasions, and reinventing our brand to grow our customer base. We are investing in our team and our infrastructure to support this growth. Every member of our nimble, entrepreneurial team makes an impact every day in a high-energy culture that we describe as “a 67-year-old start up.”

Based in our Joliet, IL based distribution center, this role is a member of the Supply Chain team. The QA Food & Safety Manager will be responsible for three main areas: Regulatory and Compliance, Testing, and Communication. This manager role will report to the on-site Director of QA. As we staff up in 4Q to accommodate the holiday selling season, this role will manage a small, on-site, temporary team. This role works with various departments including product development, buyers, warehouse associates, shipping and receiving, etc.

Job Responsibilities:

Regulatory and Compliance

  • Develops and implement standards and establishes clearly defined quality methods for QA temporary staff to apply.
  • Responsible for understanding the quality standards and coordinating with all new and existing US food suppliers to assure standards are met. Must be knowledgeable about compliance with food safety standards, HACCP plans, FDA/USDA requirements, third party certifications (GFSI-SQF/BRC) and Hickory Farms specifications.
  • Ensures that all aspects of operations (e.g. in-bound/out-bound/gift packing and shipping operations) are in full compliance with internal guidelines and regulatory requirements.
  • Manage and maintain a strong supplier quality program. Responsible for overseeing the adherence and overall performance of supplier agreements to ensure the highest quality standards are understood and met, while adhering with applicable food laws and regulations, as well as company policies.
  • Manages the ongoing, daily activities of the QA Department including being the point person for specification interpretation, and hold/release decisions.


  • Management of the robust microbiological and analytical testing program (COA’s) with the third-party lab for meat and cheese products that ensures product safety for our consumers. In addition, carry out in-house testing of E. coli and Coliform for meat and cheese products. Ensure on-going compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • After completion of micro testing, ensure that the product is released for production.
  • Maintain COA’s for products other than meat and cheese
  • Lead/Manage inspection of Hickory Farm gifts assembled and distributed by us and ensure they are free from quality and food safety defects.
  • Reports all nonconforming product to our suppliers; provides documentation, photos and ensures disposition when received.
  • Responsible for continuous development and maintenance of the bluebook and master specifications.
  • Provide data to supply chain teams on findings and actions to address any concerns.
  • Coordinate mock recalls, internally. Work with suppliers to perform mock recalls for Hickory Farms on an annual basis.
  • Manage and evaluate the retained line samples and the first production run from vendors on a regular basis.


  • Ensures that products meet regulatory requirements for labeling including: product identity, net contents statements, nutrition facts panels, ingredient statements, allergens and other labeling compliance items. Keep Genesis up-to-date for maintaining nutritionals, ingredient statement and allergens for new and existing products.
  • Work with the QA Director, Marketing and Product teams to review and approve packaging artwork for new and existing products.
  • Coordinate any investigations of quality concerns with suppliers and recommends corrective actions.
  • Communicate on-going supplier performance outcomes to all levels of the supply chain organization.

Experience and Education:

  • Minimum 5 years’ experience with managing the QA and Safety compliance in a setting involving food products; experience with meat and cheese products is preferred
  • Experience using the Genesis program is preferred
  • Must have proven levels of detail orientation and the ability to organize and manage multiple work streams
  • Extensive knowledge and experience with food safety standards and requirements for the US (FDA/USDA) and Canada (CFIA) is needed
  • Must be familiar with the SQF/BRC audit requirements
  • Preferred education and advanced degree (i.e. BS in Food Science) or related field

Job Type: Full-time


  • QA: 5 years (Required)


  • Bachelor's (Required)


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