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Tesco recall reinforces need to review food safety

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The emergency recalling of two popular, Tesco chicken salads due to the presence of the germ campylobacter, reinforces the need for retailers to look beyond their own organisations and work with suppliers to eradicate the bacteria from within its supply chains. This is according to management consultancy and supply chain specialist Nick Miller, associate director at Crimson & Co.

Recently, industry findings have reported that traces of the potentially deadly campylobacter bug found in chicken had seen a decrease in recent years with figures from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) reporting a drop from 50 per cent in 2016 to 48.8 per cent in 2017. Despite the relatively small figure experts have been quick to welcome the decrease and also praise retailers for addressing industry targets.
Miller says that the recent Tesco recall demonstrates the importance of not letting complacency take hold and actively encourages firms to look beyond their own organisations and to their suppliers, to ensure they are doing all they can to remove any threats to products:
“The recalling of two Tesco products reinforces the ongoing challenges retailers face when tackling food safety. Despite recent data depicting some drop-in traces of campylobacter, high profile recalls such as this thrust firms back into the spotlight and bring to attention inefficiencies amongst organisations and their supply chains. 
“Effective supply chain management controls the people, organisations, activities, information and resources that go into moving a product or service from concept to the store shelf. Effectively implemented, that product will be delivered with the right documentation, in the right quantity, at the right quality, to the right place, at the right time.
“While the majority of the big supermarkets will argue their quality assurances given by suppliers are to a satisfactory standard, recalls like those experienced by Tesco reinforces how organisations can’t simply rest on their laurels and therefore must be engaging in continuous ways to remove threats and ensure quality within their supply chain. Because of this relationship’s will be tested. Supermarkets with any sort of concern should not be afraid to ask difficult questions of suppliers, and if their answers are not satisfactory they must be prepared to review existing agreements and potentially walk away.
“Failure of the supermarkets to take proactive control of their supply chains will lead to them alienating themselves from their customers. They need to make sure that they are constantly reviewing processes and making active, continuous steps in improving food safety and quality. Failure to do so could have serious ramifications for a brand. In this instance, Tesco were swift in their response, but the potentially deadly nature of bacteria’s such as campylobacter, means shoppers won’t think twice to take their business elsewhere if a brand is perceived to not be doing all it can to protect its customers,” Miller concluded.

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