The current tragic incident in Italy of consumption of what was believed to be Sorbitol but which may have? been Sodium Nitrite is an example which highlights the critical importance of traceability and robust supplier audit within food supply chains.
CLICK HERE for more information on the FSA website
As this tragic story evolves and more information comes to light there are any number of potential outcomes:
- Suppliers of Sorbitol suffer a drop in sales volumes, possibly due to a factor outside of their control
- Questions are asked about the safety and security of selling foodstuffs online or through channels that may not be as tightly controlled as the traditional retail channels. This reinforces the investment retailers have made in product lifecycle management systems.
- There is a bigger issue here relating to food adulteration and we see more incidents in coming days/weeks/months
- This was a one of isolated incident of mislabelling at the online supplier and is unlikely to reoccur.
A concern that we have had for a while is that fraudsters could target the food supply chain, by substituting cheap or adulterated ingredients for more expensive ingredients and introducing these into the food supply chain at some point to achieve financial gain.
Whilst the majority of players in the food supply chain work hard and tirelessly to implement robust supplier management systems and are constantly reviewing their supply chain risk assessments, our food supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Every business needs to ensure that their supplier approval procedures are maintained up to date at all times, their food specifications are accurate and current and they frequently challenge their traceability systems.
Where they cannot get the necessary information from a supplier, for any reason, they should conclude that the supplier is too high risk and should be delisted.
This will reduce the risk of a business and its brand being implicated.