‘Longer global supply chains damaging food safety’

Gurjit Degun
6 September 2014

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7 September 2014 | Gurjit Degun

Food security is being compromised by long global supply chains leading to “recall sprawl,” according to Stericycle Expert Solutions.

The latest Stericycle European Recall and Notification Index said that the overall number of notices across food, consumer goods and automotive increased by 16 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

“While the overall food category only increased by 9 per cent, there were spikes in different industries. For example meat (non-poultry) increased by 7 per cent,” the report said. “This illustrates how unpredictable the food industry is as a whole.”

More than 40 per cent of meat recalls in the second quarter of 2014 were from New Zealand. According to the research, the problem was largely found within frozen lamb, as the result of a shiga toxin-producing E.coli.

The report added that long supply chains lead to “variations in standards”. It said: “As one issue is resolved in one area, another one arises somewhere else.”

It also said: “Brazil is one of the top three poultry exporters in the world (behind China and the US) and ships to over 150 countries. The length of this supply chain, coupled with competition within Europe, puts it as the most significant offender when it comes to the country of origin for recalls and safety notifications.”

“The global food industry is diverse, dispersed and incredibly dynamic,” added Farzad Henareh, European managing director at Stericycle. “This means more frozen produce and a slower response to acute shifts in supply and demand month-by-month. The outcome is instability and ultimately product safety issues – as we can see in this quarter’s figures.”

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