Here is a Food Safety basic for retailers. “To thine own self be true.”

December 8th, 2009

Here’s some sage advice from William Shakespeare for today’s procurement professionals.

When food safety for your customers is at stake, can procurement professionals rely on a myriad of disparate organizations to insure their customer’s safety? Or should they follow Shakespeare’s Polonius and “to thine own self be true.”

These celebrated words were spoken in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet by Polonius to his son Laertes as he prepared him for travel abroad. “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

This was great advice during the sixteenth century, and is equally great advice today when it comes to anyone involved in food safety programs. Here are two questions retailers should ask themselves.

1. Are you doing enough to insure the safety of your customers, associates and stakeholders?
2. Is it enough that trade organizations focus on food safety? Or, is there more that as companies and individuals that we can all do.

This author believes there is. The first thing we can do is to make sure that the proper questions are being asked of our supply chain. This is more than asking manufacturers, suppliers, brokers and other for their certifications and affiliations. Begin by coming up with the list of questions you personally would like answers for from your supply chain partners. As an example, do the bottles you sell us contain BPA? That is a pretty straight forward question. You can follow on from there. A next step would be to review with your e-procurement solutions provider what they have in place to insure supplier accountability. How do they check for certifications and that they are being kept up to date? What certifications do they check for? What safety questions do they ask? How does their list compare with yours? Does a merged list from the both of you look better and allow you to sleep better at night?

Begin by thinking “To thine own self be true.” It is in fact the best protection of all and is the same way your trading partners should already be thinking.

We appreciate and look forward to your comments.

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