Waitrose, Asda sign up to spices control programme

Following the fall-out from the crises over the Sudan One spice, two supermarkets have joined Valid-IT, the programme for the control of spices developed by Bodycote LawLabs with Tesco.

The scheme validates the source of materials and ensures testing and traceability are in place. Valid-IT enables retailers to ensure that their ingredients suppliers have appropriate certification.

This may include certification to the BRC Global Standard Food or equivalent, as well as adequate testing and traceability in place.

The Valid-IT programme is managed through a website, which can be password-accessed all over the world by the retailers' own-label suppliers.

The information on suppliers and ingredients is updated instantly. The assessment is paid for by the supplier, so they have ownership of the information which can then be used to demonstrate their status to customers.

Although additional supermarkets have signed up to the programme, there is no additional fee to pay for the same products - one assessment will satisfy Tesco, Asda and Waitrose.

Stephen Spice of Waitrose said: "Valid-IT is an important addition to our current systems for the control of suppliers and ingredients for our own-brand products. The programme also reduces duplication of effort and costs by retailers which are sharing information."

Liz Paterson, business development director at Bodycote LawLabs, said: "Valid-IT was developed as a tool to allow retailers to champion the importance of traceability, not just for their customers but for the welfare of their business and that of the companies who supply them."

Paterson added that The Sudan One crisis highlighted just how important it was for robust systems to be in place.