Food supply chain vulnerability: a review of emerging challenges and responses

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O'Reilly, Seamus
Sloane, Alan
Henchion, Maeve
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Nottingham University Business School
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Purpose: Increasing globalisation and pressures to reduce costs and improve efficiencies have increased food supply chain complexity. This has given rise to conditions that increase food firm vulnerability to both food fraud (for economic gain) and attack (for psychological or ideological reasons), (van Ruth, et al. 2017; Spink et al., 2017). Thus it is timely to review food defence initiatives across a number of countries to determine the feasibility of incorporating specific food defence measures in supply chain risk management systems. Design/methodology/approach: Due the emergent nature of the challenges associated with food defence grey as well as academic literature were reviewed. Based on an initial scan of the literature (academic, grey and open) specific search terms and keywords, key authors, key institutions (e.g. European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), FDA, WHO) and key publications were identified. Terminology used was also scanned across social media platforms (in particular Twitter). This informed the key words used in a systematic review of literature using the following databases Google Scholar, Science Direct, Web of Science, EBSCO (business complete) and Scopus and the searches were extended to non-peer reviewed publications. The “grey” literature included publications by companies involved in food safety training, industry magazines, white papers, publications of standards groups such as GFSI, SSAFE, GMA and the BRC, regulatory authorities and online blogs and websites. Findings: The development of food supply chain defence initiatives is at an early stage and represents an area of on-going activity and trial. A review of such initiatives identifies key strategies (deterrence; detection; control and countermeasures), increased and ongoing effort to develop rapid tests, and vulnerability assessment tools developed within a regulatory framework. This review points to the need for ongoing development of food supply chain actor capacity to use vulnerability tools and associated databases and to embed fraud/threat defences into their management processes. Value: A number of factors combine to increase the challenges posed by food fraud and attack in this decade. This study aims to contribute to emerging research by exploring the context, considering key characteristics of food fraud/attack and evaluating responses by companies and regulatory authorities, in the context of resilient supply chains. As such it may be of interest to researchers, policy makers and food supply chain actors. Research limitations/implications: This paper is limited to the review stage of a larger research project. Practical implications: In addition to providing an evidence base to underpin the development of a more food resilient food supply chains, this study aims to raise awareness and knowledge about the challenges posed by fraud/attack.
Globalisation , Food supply chain , Food supply chain defence initiatives , Food fraud , Supply chain risk management systems , Supply chain management
O’Reilly, S., Sloane, A. and Henchion, A. (2018) ‘Food supply chain vulnerability: a review of emerging challenges and responses’, in Pawar, K. S., Potter, A., Chan, C. and Pujawan, N. eds., Proceedings of the 23rd International Symposium on Logistics (ISL 2018), Big Data Enabled Supply Chain Innovations, Bali, Indonesia 8-11 June, pp. 309-315. ISBN: 9780853583240
© Nottingham University Business School, 2018