Monday, 1 February 2010

Food Month Blog and Business Assurance

Welcome to the LRQA Food Month blog. I am the Managing Director for LRQA, a member of the Lloyd’s Register Group. We have dedicated this month to the food sector as we believe that is a sector where organisations and their application of management systems can be of most benefit to business, consumers and society as a whole.
The mainstream media is filled with news of food safety scares just think milk, beef, spinach and last week even pepper, to name a few.

The announcement of a new food czar in the USA has highlighted the importance of the issue for governments. Organisations have also stepped up their commitment to food safety, with food manufacturers and retailers increasingly working together to seek robust solutions across the entire food supply chain.
The Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of the European Union (CIAA) is an example of this, with retailers such as Wal-Mart and Carrefour working together with manufacturers such as Coca-Cola, Kraft and Danone to develop the FSSC 22000 certification scheme. FSSC 22000 builds on the foundations of ISO 22000, the first independent global food safety standard.
ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 are at the core of LRQA’s Business Assurance approach to the food sector. Cor Groenveld, our global food safety expert, is currently the chairman for the Foundation for Food Safety Certification, the owners of FSSC 22000 and Cor was on the technical committee that developed ISO 22000. He will be in Washington D.C. this week at the Global Food Safety Conference . He is delivering a presentation on the importance of an integrated approach to Food Supply Chains, as well as presenting on behalf of the FSSC 22000.
The recent food safety scares have highlighted the potential damage to brand reputation that just one real or perceived scare in the food supply chain can do. Loss in market share, negative impact on supplier/retailer relationships and lawsuits are just some of the possible impacts on the brand.
In our discussions with global food manufacturers, we are increasingly seeing the conversation move away from conformance and meeting requirements. Our clients want to talk about reducing risk, reducing down time in the supply chain and they want to know how their management systems can protect their brand reputation. They also want to talk about their environmental performance, their health and safety systems, their IT systems and their quality management systems. In other words, they are proactively addressing the issues that their stakeholders are most concerned with.
It’s not business as usual for organisations in the food supply chain, it’s about Business Assurance.

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