Data-Driven Best Practices for Mitigating Supply Chain Food Safety Risk

The safety of our food supply chain is as crucial as ever, especially during persisting supply chain disruptions. The just-in-time delivery system, affected by the COVID pandemic and severe weather events, is impacted by labor shortages and reduced production. As a result, prices of commodities like vegetable oils and chicken have risen significantly.
Food manufacturers must monitor the food supply chain for biological, chemical and physical hazards, allergens, radiological hazards, and economically motivated food adulteration (food fraud) in their raw materials. In addition, food producers are required to adhere to ever-evolving regulations, which are different from country to country.
In 2021, pesticide residues, microbiological hazards and undeclared allergens accounted for over half of hazard notifications (Figure 1).

Fig 1: 2021 Food Safety Hazards

For economically motivated adulteration or food fraud, meat and poultry, dairy, seafood and honey were responsible for nearly 50 percent of the recorded global cases (Figure 2). Food adulteration, especially if done with none-food substances, can be a potential hazard to human and animal health. For organic products, where demand and prices are increasing, mislabeling a conventional food as organic is becoming more common and affecting a wide range of products, for example fruits, meat, eggs, vegetables, lettuce, wine and seeds. Another type of food fraud is fraudulent use of branding (intellectual property), which is misleading to consumers and can be dangerous, for example in the case of counterfeit liquor that contained toxic methanol. Other recently counterfeited products include wine, coffee, tea, meats, rice and even canned fish.

Fig 2: Food Fraud Records 2021

Food manufacturers are required to adhere to a myriad of food safety requirements based on regulations, client requirements and internal standards. Food companies are required to conduct risk assessments, hazard analyses, and food fraud vulnerability assessments. Every step in food production has to be monitored and documented, including the staff training. The same food safety production principles apply to animal feed products. This creates a huge amount of data that needs to be collected, monitored, tracked, reviewed and prioritized. Mismanagement in the data area can create severe issues, especially missed food safety risks and wasted staff time.

To evaluate food fraud risks and monitor hazards in the food supply chain, FoodChain ID offers two complementary tools. HorizonScan™ provides daily supply chain monitoring of ingredient and supplier threats for biological, chemical and physical hazards. The Food Fraud Database is a curated, searchable database of food fraud records to support GFSI-required vulnerability assessments. Together both tools offer the highest level of food safety and food fraud risk assessment. In addition, stay in the know with our FoodChain ID Academy lectures. Find our partner Mintec’s article 2022 Food and Commodity Update here: Mintec 2022 Global Food Commodity Update

How can you make your food supply chain more transparent and safer? Contact us here today to learn how our industry-leading tools can help you with quality control, risk mitigation and product development.

Images from FoodChain ID HorizonScan™ and Food Fraud Database
HorizonScan™ is a registered trademark of Fera Science Ltd.

Posted on 28 January 2022