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Supply Chain Integrity: Who Will Pay?

Posted: October 30, 2007

The United States has long enjoyed a reputation for a safe foodway. However, recent scares—particularly Chinese melamine contamination—have highlighted the complications of an ever-lengthening global supply chain. “The world,” as one audience member observed during a recent Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association panel, “has become the US’s supplier.”

Don Finch (vice president of sales, Cargill Flavor Systems) agreed, noting the result: “decreasing control over supply chain.”

During the same session, Craig Henry (senior vice president and COO for scientific and regulatory affairs, Grocery Manufacturers Association) highlighted just how complicated the situation has gotten. Henry pointed to the all-American hamburger, noting that this culinary icon typically is composed of up to 26 sources. In this context, supply chain integrity is no small feat. Yet the need to deliver on safety is more urgent than ever.

Henry cited a recent drop in consumer confidence in food safety, falling from 82% in 2006 to 66% in 2007. Meanwhile, a 2007 Consumer Reports survey reported that 92% of Americans want the country of manufacturing origin listed on all foods.

Who’s Going to Pay for This?