By Kerry Bridges
It doesn’t take a food safety expert to understand how increasingly complex our food supply chain has become. More than ever, ingredients and raw materials are sourced from around the world and flow through the supply chain to expanding global markets, satisfying both diverse customers and increasingly demanding regulatory requirements. By now, many of us are well aware of the horse meat scandal in Europe, where foods advertised as containing beef were found to actually include undeclared horse meat. It’s just one example of the ever-increasing complexity of the global food market, and the risks that accompany it.
Of course, there are many benefits to global sourcing, but with those benefits come many risks as well. All food companies in the supply chain (grower, processer, shipper, packer, broker, etc.) need to take preventive measures to address these risks.
One of the best ways an organization can pledge a culture of food safety is to know and manage their supply base. Buyers within the processing, retail and foodservice industries are tasked with not just knowing their own suppliers, but the secondary suppliers of those main suppliers. This can be a daunting task. On top of that, third-party food safety audits and their data requirements add yet another layer of complexity, and time: There are a multitude of audits available, but not many that are driven by data.