Cooperation key to success in supply chain security
Published:  23 March, 2015

Greater cooperation and collaboration throughout the UK food supply chain was highlighted as a key factor in tackling the challenges of effective supply chain security, at a Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum on the subject last week.

Jenny Morris, head of the Institute of Food Safety, Integrity and Protection, said: “Only through working together do we have any chance of being successful.” She said that although resources were much tighter than in previous years, the food industry needed to look at how it could improve in this area.

One thing that would make a difference was if all enforcement officers had “the same tool kit”, said Sue Davies, chief policy adviser, Which?, who explained that officers in different parts of the UK were working to different criteria.

Davies said businesses need to make sure they had effective controls in place, and that ‘horizon scanning’ was very important. This point was also picked up by Steve Wearne, director of food policy, Food Standards Agency, who said the industry needed to get better at “how we identify emerging risk”, so that problems could be tackled early on.

“As Professor Chris Elliott said, we need to make sure the UK is an unattractive place to commit food fraud,” said Wearne.

Unfortunately food fraud is an area which is becoming increasingly popular with criminals, some of whom are actually moving away from narcotics, and into food crime because of the money involved, warned Carole Payne, senior consultant, strategic consulting group, NSF International.

While one of the key points made during the morning’s discussions was that more needed to be done, Phil Bicknell, head of food and farming at the National Farmers’ Union, said the most valuable thing was to be proactive. “We should also champion the positives,” he said.

“The industry’s work on campylobacter is an example of businesses working together throughout the supply chain, and something approaching best practice,” he added.

For more on supply chain security, make sure you read our feature on the subject in the 8 May issue of Meat Trades Journal.