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Those in the food and beverage industry overwhelmingly agreed that supply chain processes need to improve to deliver food more safely to consumers. In fact 78 percent of participants agreed supply chain proceases are a "key issue" for food safety.
viewpoint By Tom Kozenski Four Ways To Improve Food Safety R ecently, the Food and Drug Administration responded to the grow- ing volume of consumers disgruntled about a perceived lack of food safety. In a report entitled, “Food Protection Plan, One-Year Progress veyed, traceability improvements across the supply chain have become the highest priority for change. Speciﬁcally: • Nearly one in ﬁve respondents thought improving FDA inspection Summary—December 2008,” the agency pledged a number of new tac- was the most important way to improve food safety; tics, including a heightened focus on foreign products entering the U.S., • Almost 20 percent found changing the way food is imported the and signaled a growing desire to resolve the current food safety issues highest priority; facing the nation. • Thirteen percent thought there should be new industry standards; The risks associated with not ensuring safe food products are high. • Only three percent thought creating new laws or regulations was the Companies face bad publicity, liability and costly recalls if their products most important issue. don’t uphold standards. And while the cost of any recall is difﬁcult to It should be noted that for every two participants who considered gov- meet, winning back lost customers and rebuilding reputations are often ernment intervention an acceptable change, another eight thought food insurmountable obstacles. safety should be handled by the industry. And for every ﬁve participants In October 2008, RedPraire Corp. commissioned a food safety sur- who considered traceability of paramount importance, fewer than two vey of 60 food and beverage manufacturers, wholesalers, grocery re- thought new regulations would solve problems related to food safety. tailers and third-party logistics (3PL) providers. Many survey respon- What we should take away from this data is a general lack of consensus dents voiced a number of concerns and potential solutions related to on how to solve food safety issues. While many consider food safety to be food safety. In particular, they cited four changes necessary to make grounded in industry practice, the results allude to a mixture of concerns food safety a non-issue: surrounding not only manufacturing and shipping, but also FDA inspec- 1. Supply chain(ge) processes—shift how food is tions, import regulations, and laws. moved from ﬁeld to fork. 3. The tech advantage—improving traceability Those in the food and beverage industry overwhelmingly agreed that means improving the network. supply chain processes need to improve to deliver food more safely to Survey participants considered supply chain technology the biggest consumers. In fact, 78 percent of participants agreed supply chain pro- potential impact on improved traceability. While respondents came back cesses are a “key issue” for food safety.
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