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Insight

Improving food supply chain transparency

A transparent supply chain helps manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and all actors involved to deliver safe, authentic and nutritious food to consumers in a sustainable, ethical and respectful way. This is especially important for food firms in effectively facing the consequences of problems related to supply chains.

Food scandals

Greater transparency means food scandals such as the E. coli outbreak in Germany in 2011 or the horse meat scandal in the UK in 2013, are better understood and remembered. It has led to more and deeper transparency initiatives for the food industry in developed economies.

For example, following the horse meat scandal, the Food Industry Intelligence Network (FIIN) was created by the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) National Crime Unit of the UK, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and Food Standards Scotland.

FIIN was founded to rebuild trust in the food industry as a network of suppliers, manufacturers and retailers teamed up to collect, compile, analyse and disseminate information and intelligence.

However, such initiatives are still at their infancy with room for improvement. For instance, many smaller firms, which would not have the same financial resources as larger ones, would most likely not join FIIN, and may include potential “problem cases”.

No doubt that the more recent global pandemic pertaining to the outbreak of COVID-19 (a virus which has been linked to a wholesale seafood/live animal market in Wuhan, China and is widely theorised to be of zoonotic origin) will spark further consumer demand for strict enforcement of food safety standards and complete supply chain transparency.

Improving supply chain transparency with Farrelly Mitchell

 

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Improving food supply chain transparency

Author

sean@initiate.ie

Senior Food & Agribusiness Analyst
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