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As the food industry battles to satisfy consumer demand, farmers and processors need the reassurance of third-party assessments, audits and certifications.
 
To build and maintain a good reputation in the food industry, the minimum requirement is to comply with the appropriate good practices, standards and regulations. Yet globalisation means that supply chains are growing longer and more complex as they cross national boundaries.
 
If you’re a food processor, how can you be sure there’s compliance throughout the chain?
 
Taking the milk products supply chain as an example. When buying milk products as an ingredient, how do you know what’s happening at the dairy farm? Is it meeting the necessary food regulations and complying with the local and destination requirements? And what about animal welfare? Is the farmer treating the cows in accordance with the applicable standards?
 
The answers can be elusive – especially when the industry is also trying to satisfy consumers’ evolving demands. These include complaints about the detrimental impact of production techniques, and requests for safer, healthier food that is grown and processed in a socially, ethically and environmentally responsible manner. This translates into calls for reduced chemical and veterinary drug use, improved soil protection, better water management and more biodiversity, and into concerns about the welfare of workers, farm animals and sea life.
 
Given the range of these demands – and the bad media attention that follows an inability to match them – how confident are you about your own processing plants and suppliers? Is everyone achieving the required standards? Remember, non-compliance anywhere in the chain invalidates adherence to best practice elsewhere. How can you ensure this doesn’t happen to you?

 

Farm assessments, audits and certification

Getting a trusted third-party to assess the farms within your supply chain is one way to gain and maintain more control at the same time as allowing you to assess the risk. Independent experts can help to prove compliance with industry standards, as well as demonstrate a commitment to sustainable agriculture and aquaculture practices.
 
Assessments often lead to better farming practices and more highly-skilled workers, since suppliers can access the right training and get advice on how to improve. And these are just the first steps.
 
Farm audits will benchmark facilities, processes, practices and quality against food industry standards and regulations. Auditing enables the performance of your business processes and products to be compared against those of the best performances of other companies, and helps to identify areas for improvement. It also makes it easier for organisations to implement improvements and then take advantage of the subsequent marketing opportunities.

Achieving certification against industry schemes shows that suppliers have successfully implemented the relevant good practices, and that progress is consistent and continuous. You can assess compliance beyond the farm gate too, with verification of the warehousing, transportation and trading stages of the supply chain all possible.

SGS Solutions

Our agriculture and food industry assessments, certification and auditing services can help you and your suppliers to prove ongoing compliance and improvement, enhance operational efficiency, manage your risk and increase marketability.
 
You can rely upon our expertise across a range of food sectors, and expect a customised – and standardised – service wherever you operate globally.

For further information, please contact:

Bruno Widmer

Business Development Manager
t: +41 22 739 94 68