CGE Global Summit Plans Sweeping Reforms Amid Frozen Food Recall

Meagan Douglas
Thu, Jul 14, 2016
A recall of contaminated vegetables has brought up questions of supply chain effectiveness.
A recall of contaminated vegetables has brought up questions of supply chain effectiveness.

A recall has rocked the food industry as well as supply chain industries amidst food supply concerns. Dutch Treat Foods Inc issued a recall of 3000 pounds of Sweet Pea Pasta Salad after concerns of potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes in the peas. The third frozen food recall this year, this latest loss has consumers and industry experts concerned.

The Food Safety Modernization Act enacted in 2011, was the most sweeping food safety regulation to be enacted in over 70 years. An effort to quickly pinpoint the contaminates and remove them from shelves via data collection is the key to preventing food borne illnesses. Given the long shelf life of frozen foods, it can be difficult to completely dispose of the contaminates, which has some industry experts concerned that the tainted products will be much more difficult to get rid of. All of this comes as the world's consumer goods industry leaders met at the CGF Global Summit in South Africa to discuss initiatives in global food safety and development.

Efforts to Improve Food Safety
Dutch Foods issued the recall, but the contamination did not originate in its facility. The supplier found contaminates in the frozen peas that were shipped to Dutch Foods, illustrating the importance of having a firm supply chain in place. Forty-eight million people get sick annually from eating contaminated food, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, and that is only in the United States; the World Health Organization estimates that as many as 600 million people suffer from illnesses related to contaminated food annually worldwide.

It can be difficult to avoid contamination in a food supply chain. If the chain is not diverse it can lead to inventory issues, while supply chains on a larger scale can lead to contamination. Efforts are being made by the CGF Global Summit to diversify and expand food supply chains while protecting consumers. The global food supply network hopes to scale up while improving safety and sustainability through inventory management.

Sustainable Food Supply
Food and beverage firms have improved sustainable business efforts over the past year in large part due to a higher demand from consumers. 56 percent of the coffee sourced by Nestle in the last year was traceable back to farms and plantations and responsibly obtained, and they had no product recalls related to food-borne illness in that time. With the stakes so high in the industry supply chain, examples such as Nestle show that supply chains can be diversified effectively and those efforts can be sustained.

Food companies must walk a thin line with consumers; providing products associated with the brand is key to sustaining business, while also maintaining inventory control. A lack of supply will lead to a lack of product, which is how overproduction can occur, leading to contamination. Improper packing of products can also cause corruption of the food source. The key to sustaining food supply to consumers is finding secure supply chains, or else cope with managing consumer expectations which can be difficult in a world of instant gratification.

At this time, Dutch Foods has no plans to reveal which supplier provided the contaminated peas. Efforts to streamline the industry will hopefully prevent further recalls on this scale, paired with the results from the CGF Global Summit to help in the process of improving food safety.

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