In lieu of issues such as the cross-species contamination primarily in communited beef products, an additional element of risk has been implied to businesses who trade but do not necessarily manufacture product.
Particularly as several brands (from several cutting plants, slaughter sites and manufacturers), may be sourced for distribution to customers, albeit packaged, the implications of supplying adulterated product have been evidenced in the last few months; as a result, our company is looking at how these risks can be mitigated/eliminated/controlled. Presently, Supplier Approval processes are implemented which require we deal with reputable companies with 3rd party Accreditation, and a combination of SAQs, and Audit visits where practical. Product Specifications are agreed and available for all products. A questionnaire has been implemented to specifically provide guarantees on cross-contamination and processes for handling different species where applicable. Halal product is supplied directly by the manufacturers to our customers, without entering the coldstore, and the Purchasing Procedure has included all these controls for over 5 years. Although all these processes are in place, the consequence of even one shipment (no matter how small), coming back positive on any type of testing could tarnish not only thre manufacturer, but potentially the immediate supplier such as a coldstore company like ourselves.
While I am aware a standard Risk Assessment is not for fraud, and for the majority of adulterations, health implications may be miniscule, is there any way to conduct a similar process to improve the Approval System, particularly where global suppliers are involved?
Also, where large volumes are coming through to be sold unprocessed at varying frequency, is there any financially viable test or sampling regime which could possibly protect the brand of a food business of our nature?
In a nutshell, short of the trust we have in our suppliers, and current procedures as described above, does any Warehouse and Distribution company out there feel confident future occurences similar to 'horse-gate' could not damage their business?