Food Safety for Retailers should be a high priority New Years Resolution!

December 31st, 2009

If you read the daily news, it is no surprise that this should be a primary focus. One article I read today was titled “Tainted meat sickens 19 people in 16 States”.

In addition to that article the two papers I read today had a total of seven other articles or opinions on safe consumables including a focus on airport food, school cafeteria food, fast food and others. Houston we have a problem!

Today’s procurement knowledge workers responsible for purchasing consumables for their customer base are growing more concerned in their ability to procure safe products, suppliers to deliver safe products, or farms and manufacturers to produce safe products.

So what can be done to improve the situation? To begin with buyers require fresh reliable data. This begins with understanding your trading partners’ commitment to food and consumable product safety.  From a pure sourcing perspective asking simple questions like; how do you insure that the new sources of supply that you offer us for inclusion in e-procurement events will deliver safe products? The answer is not as simple as just responding by saying we or they support GFSI, SQF or any number of other safe food initiatives. The answer should be that as a vendor they have a large data rich supplier database from which to choose new sources of supply that is easily searchable by the retailer which includes safety data and basic RFI information. Additionally, all suppliers, brokers, manufacturers and others should be held accountable to a variety of safe food standards as elements of the data. Although this is just the first step in supplier selection, it is an important one. A tangential analysis should be ranking these suppliers based on the safety standards they adhere to versus what the industry considers to be best practice implementation. Additionally an e-procurement partner should be able to provide easy access to industry safety updates and alerts on a daily basis and a consistent refresh of the supplier database, based on new information as it becomes available such as suppliers that have failed or missed inspections or had other types of violations. Although traceability also enters into this discussion, it is also something that is required after a product has failed, been recalled or caused illness.

To conclude your questioning of your sourcing solution provider a final step should be; Show me!

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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