Supply chain risk continues to exist, especially within international food supply chains.

Last week, the Taiwan High Court sentenced the owner of a food additive manufacturing firm to a jail term of 13 years for adding toxic plasticizers to clouding agents and selling these products to food and beverage producers.  His spouse was also sentenced on the same charges.  More disturbing, the incidents were reported to occur between August of 2005 to May 2011, a period of almost six years.  This incident is being described as the largest food contamination incident in Taiwan history.

Clouding agents are typically used in the products such as fruit jelly, yogurt powder, juices and other drinks.  This incident resulted in the recall of hundreds of products and was described by the Taipei Times as “bludgeoning the confidence of Taiwanese consumers and tarnishing the country’s reputation abroad.”

Sourcing and procurement teams need to insure that proper quality measures always exist up and down the supply chain. In this Taiwan incident, the existence of non-conforming product existed far too long without detection or investigation of consumer feedback. In the case of globally extended supply, producers, distributors and retailers must further have a keen eye to specific oversight and regulatory measures.

As Supply Chain Matters has often pointed out, brands can be destroyed with a single large-scale incident.

Bob Ferrari