Egg scandal demands greater scrutiny of supply chain

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Strict rules: operators need to manage suppliers responsibly
Strict rules: operators need to manage suppliers responsibly

Related tags Supply chain Management

Food businesses must implement robust supplier management systems following the Fipronil egg scandal, they have been warned.

Management specialist Trade Interchange has called for greater scrutiny of businesses’ supply chain management systems after the scandal shook the foodservice sector this month.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) claimed a small proportion (0.001%) of eggs contaminated with insecticide Fipronil from Dutch producers had entered the UK. However, that was found to be wrong and it now stands at about 700,000​ (0.007%).

The FSA has claimed it was unlikely contaminated eggs pose a risk to public health and chairman Heather Hancock advised operators that there was no need to change how they bought eggs.

Contaminated eggs

She said: “We are responding very quickly to any new information, to ensure that any products left containing egg from the affected farms are withdrawn immediately.

“We’re doing this because Fipronil is not authorised for use in food-producing animals, not because we are concerned about any risk to health.”

Food suppliers to the pub trade have now also been implicated​ in the scandal after it was discovered stock held by several businesses had been made using contaminated eggs.

Trade Interchange co-founder and managing director Mike Edmunds said businesses could be at risk of “reputational damage” and the responsibility of managing suppliers falls to foodservice operators.

Track supply chain

He said: “If UK businesses are not able to efficiently track their supply chain, they are at risk of reputational damage, which can lead to customers going elsewhere or losing trust in a brand.

“This latest food safety scare and the 2013 horsemeat incident, which has not been forgotten by the public, reaffirms the role a carefully monitored supply chain has and shows where current, inefficient systems can fall down.

“This latest incident is another reminder for the industry. The responsibility for managing suppliers, falls squarely on the shoulders of foodservice businesses operating in the UK.”

Edmunds added that the sector must continue to establish effective collaboration, monitoring and management within the supply chain.

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