Call for agents and brokers to improve or leave the food industry

Agents and Brokers within the food supply chain may find themselves under the spotlight with the release of the new BRC7 standard.

There is a greater need to improve the flow of supply chain information for their customers implementing vulnerability assessments.

With many food and drink manufacturers preparing to be audited for the first time against the BRC Food Standard Issue 7, challenges faced getting enough information from suppliers is a shared concern within the industry.

To complete vulnerability assessments extensive information is required on the length and complexity of the raw material supply chain as well as ease of access to raw materials. Much of which food businesses are having to collect for the first time.

The 4th QADEX Supplier approval management conference, focused on vulnerability assessments, and was attended by a capacity audience of over 70 food and drink businesses from around the UK.

An excellent line up of speakers included Professor Lisa Jack of Portsmouth Business School, John Figgins of BRC Global Standards and Stephen Whyte of QADEX, the event was hosted by Professor Tony Hines of Leatherhead Food Research.

Professor Hines provided a fascinating introduction, with insightful perspectives, connecting historic fraud, horsegate and politics culminating in where we are today.

Professor Lisa Jack gave pause for thought with an extensive overview of how fraudulent food creeps into the supply chain, as well as indicators of fraud and also provided some great ideas on the types of things food businesses need to be asking of their supply chains in order to identify resilience to fraud in their own supply chains.

John Figgins provided an excellent background to vulnerability assessments within issue 7 of the BRC Food standard with an easy to follow guide showing how to complete a vulnerability assessment.

When asked about the role of agents and brokers in the food chain, Stephen Whyte responded

“they have a role to play in the food supply chain, there are many good agents and brokers but a minority do not take their responsibilities seriously enough.” Whyte proceeded to outline two calls to action for businesses undertaking vulnerability assessments.”

“Consider all suppliers who are not supplying high quality information, high risk.”

“Move promptly to delist suppliers who do not cooperate.”

“With the introduction of the BRC Global Standard for Agents and Brokers there is no excuse for every agent and broker not to be certified”, claims Whyte.

Planning for the 5th Supplier Approval Conference 2016 is already underway, and the theme looks to be continued as although food safety and security is better today than ever before, it seems every step forward is offset by a new set of vulnerabilities.