Pundit’s Mailbag —
Grower/Shipper Calls Buyer-Led Food
Safety Initiative Hollow Call To Action
Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, November 14, 2006
Here at the Pundit we’ve been doing a lot of work on the Buyer Led-Food Safety Initiative. You can read here of the issues related to this important issue.
In response to our piece Buyer-led Food Safety Effort Leaves Open Question of Buyer Commitment, we received a number of phone calls and this letter from a well-respected member of the shipper community:
The Pundit thanks our correspondent for taking the time to write. What an informative and insightful letter. Look at some of the key points being raised:
The same flaws in our procurement systems that make it difficult for us to secure food safety also make it difficult to secure good flavor and probably many other good attributes.
There is a disconnect between the VPs of Perishables/Fresh Foods, VP of Produce and other higher level executives and the actual procurement staff.
Foodservice does a better job than retail on most items.
Many foreign buyers, especially in the U.K., have higher standards than U.S. buyers. As a result, foreign shippers from markets, such as Chile and South Africa, that have to meet these international standards are ahead of U.S. shippers who do not have to meet the same standards.
Marketing orders are not well positioned to be the instrument by which food safety standards are enforced as they tend to operate at the lowest common denominator.
What growers and shippers need from buyers is not a committee to establish high standards; they need a commitment to align with vendors and not abandon them because someone is cheaper.
This is an incredibly valuable letter, and we are going to deal separately with each of theses six issues in the days to come.
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