Due Diligence in Food Supply Chain

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Due Diligence is a way to fulfill a certain requirement. It gives more power and ‘teeth’ to comply with legislation, for example in food industry. By defining Due Diligence, the government can increase the legal responsibility to food premises on how they handling food. However, due diligence is a term that has various interpretations. Each organization perceives it differently and what they can do is to provide evidence of due diligence.

One of many ways to provide an evidence of due diligence is to implement HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). By implementing HACCP, organization felt protected as they could prove that they had taken reasonable precautions in their operations and therefore could show ‘due diligence’. HACCP complies due diligence by taking precaution of CCP which can be defined as any point in the chain of food production from raw materials to finished product where the loss of control could result in unacceptable food safety risk. In general, HACCP has 7 principles:
1. assess the hazard, list the steps in the process where significant hazard can occur, and describe the prevention measures;
2. determine critical control points (CCPs) in the process;
3. establish critical limits for each CCP;
4. establish procedures to monitor each CCP;
5. establish corrective actions to be taken when monitoring indicates a deviation from the CCP limits;
6. establish record keeping for the HACCP system; and
7. establish procedures to verify that the HACCP system is working correctly.

Another important point in due diligence is tracing. Tracing is the reverse process of tracking by which the history of a product is reconstructed through the information recorded in each step of the supply chain, identifying the source of a food or group of ingredients and consequently the real origin of a product. It should be captured in such a way that can support interoperability and communication between different parties. Traceability is important in Food Supply Chain and it is considered to be an effective tool to comply with legislation and to meet food safety requirements by providing communication linkage for identifying, verifying and isolating sources and products intervening with quality aspects. A number of food incident in the past happened during which traceability was absent.

Some benefits of traceability are as follows:
1. To improve the quality of raw materials,
2. To improve inventory management and as a source of competitive advantages
3. To build trust, peace of mind, and increase confidence in the food system.
4. To continuous improvement and minimization of the impact of safety hazards.

Documentation is another way to satisfy due diligent since nutritional quality, traceability and provenance become important to consumers in food service environments and regulatory activity. It means that an organization’s internal information management needs may change if it must generate increased documentation and record-keeping to achieve so called due diligence.

In School Meal Supply Chain, Due Diligence is very important as the food is consumed by the children. To comply due diligence in school meal, we need to investigate the food supply chain in school. By constructing Food Supply Chain, we are able to trace back the product of food from its origin (Provenance). To realize it succesfully, the information need to be available in global standard format for all operators to support interoperability. It will enable the system to trace the food products and able to support quality and safety control. Once the School Food Supply Chain is constructed, we can identify, assess, analyse, calculate, and manage the risk exposure in the Food Supply Chain.; therefore, Due Diligence can be achieved.

reference:
Eves, A., & Dervisi, P. (2005). Experiences of the implementation and operation of hazard analysis critical control points in the food service sector. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 24(1), 3-19.
Unnevehr, L. J., & Jensen, H. H. (1999). The economic implications of using HACCP as a food safety regulatory standard. Food policy, 24(6), 625-635.
Loader, R., & Hobbs, J. E. (1999). Strategic responses to food safety legislation. Food Policy, 24(6), 685-706.
Pizzuti, T., Mirabelli, G., Sanz-Bobi, M. A., & Goméz-Gonzaléz, F. (2014). Food Track & Trace ontology for helping the food traceability control. Journal of Food Engineering, 120, 17-30.
Aung, M. M., & Chang, Y. S. (2014). Traceability in a food supply chain: Safety and quality perspectives. Food control, 39, 172-184.

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