Risk Analysis and Assessment in Perishable Food Supply Chain

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2011

28 Pages, Grade: 5/5



1 Problem Description:

2 Objectives:

3 Introduction:

4 Methodology:
4.1 User requirements:

5 Risk analysis:
5.1 System description:
5.2 Hazard identification:
5.2.1 What-if Analysis:
5.2.2 HAZOP Study:
5.2.3 Failure Mode Effect Analysis:
5.2.4 Event tree analysis (ETA):
5.3 Risk Matrix Evaluation:

6 Conclusions:

7 References:

1 Problem Description:

By increasing concern about risks to public health in Europe, customer confidence in food industry has been reduced. Some incident such as Salmonella and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), chemical problems in food as dioxins increased customer awareness of food safety and this issue have an effect on consumer buying behaviour (Yeung and Yee, 2002).

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2011) estimates 48 million food borne disease cases in United State annually, 128000 hospitalized people with a diagnosis of food poisoning and 3000 die in each year. In terms of monetary lost and medical costs it ranges from $6.5 to $34.9 billion dollar annually.

Increasing demand for safety by food authorities and regulations call for more effort on risk analysis along food supply chain, for instance EU regulation No 178/2002/EC (European Parliament) that established new principles and requirements of food safety law. The key factors of the new food safety law involve: (a) an integrated approach of food safety through the entire food network, (b) the precautionary principle, (c) the responsibility of food industry actors, (d) traceability along all stages of production, processing and distribution of food network, (e) the transparency public information, and (f) the requirement of food law to be measured by risk analysis (Hugos et al, 2007).

The trend towards globalization and increasing network in food industry has led to creating more complex supply chain in this industry; longer distance between producers and customers, besides involving different actors like wholesalers, distributors and retailers demand for accurate safety system along the network. Food consumers, demand for food safety and quality when they buy the products and it means trust the companies in entire supply chain. Therefore, there is a need for food industry to deal with their product safety issues to create trust among consumers. In addition food safety risk has effect on consumer buying behavior, so the consequences affect both producers and customers (Nemery et al, 1999; McMeekin et al, 2006).

The literature review by Olsson and Skjoldebrand (2008) reveals that previous studies in food safety is limited within each party and do not cover the whole supply chain. In other word, risk analysis is performed mostly within only one company separately from other actors in the network. This study illustrated the necessity of collaboration and integration among all actors within supply chain of food; and the need for risk analysis in an integrated manner with food industry.

These effects of food in society and industry are more tangible in perishable food products. These kinds of products due to their nature are more sensitive and more likely to being damaged and it can cause serious problem for public health (Busby et al, 1997).

2 Objectives:

There are some risk analysis studies in different steps of food supply chain as production, distribution, logistics, and retailers. However, there is gap in risk analysis for all supply chain of food industry, from producer to end customer. Therefore, the focus in this study is risk analysis in supply network of perishable food and providing a model for finding and reducing potential risks. The aim of this study is mainly risk reduction of perishable food industry which has influence on improvement of public health level and decreasing food-borne diseases. As well as reduction of different costs related to facing hazard situation such as using poisoned or rotten foods by end users or problem related to transportation and on-time delivery of products. Furthermore it leads to increasing customer satisfaction and company revenue by delivering healthy and on-time products on the shelf.

3 Introduction:

Supply and deliver of perishable food has some specific requirements regarding the preservation of the products in addition to the general requests of all the supply chains. According to Bourlakis and Weightman (2007) these requirement includes:

- Need for short time distribution between producer and retailer due to short expiration date.
- A large number of products need to contain preservatives and additives to increase the durability of the product and make its distribution feasible.
- Due to globalization some products have to be transported from the production place to a large number of markets, which some of them can be very far. Therefore these long distances have to be covered in the shorter period of time but in way that the costs are not higher than the benefits.
- All the perishable food needs to be kept in refrigerated carrier units during all the transportation but also during the time the products are in the warehouse and the retailer shop.
- Since these products are usually common products with high competition it is very important that they are available on the shelves of the stores all the time.

Applying risk studies in such a situation is very important due to the large number of factors that are influencing at the same time and the increased coordination required. In addition to that there is another important aspect that has to be considered when talking about the supply of food, which is the concern of the consumers about the quality of the food. This is a very important factor due to the fact that it can greatly affect the consumption of a specific type of food. This apprehension is usually related to the presence of pesticides in the vegetables, diseases related with the ingestion of meat, fish and other kind of perishable foods.

Nowadays there are a large number of studies related with this topic in order to increase transparency of the supply chain, as well as try to develop methods in order to detect damaged food as soon as possible (safefoods.nl).

According to Palmer (1996) by BSE crisis a significant fall in sales occurred in the beef market in UK, Germany and France and it caused great loss in export and domestic sales. Therefore, customer awareness of risk and the effect on purchasing behaviour in food safety issues caused to develop risk assessment strategies by those who are in charge of public health and food industry itself (Yeung and Morrise, 2000).

4 Methodology:

This study aims to focus on perishable food industry; such as meat, dairy, and beverage. The research is performed from point of producers to distribution systems, retailers and finally ends to consumers. The study applies risk analysis to the whole supply chain and gives some suggestions about how these risks can be reduced and prevented.

To be able to conduct the risk analysis and risk assessment to this case first step was illustrating the problem connected to the production and distribution food and analysing the consumers’ requirements and acceptable levels of risk regarding fresh products. In order to find the related problems in the supply chain of food industry some literature has been reviewed.

The study is followed by conducting risk analysis, starting by describing the current situation and drawing a P-diagram to find the most important noise factors for these circumstances. The next step was finding the best methodology that is more relevant for specific problems in food industry. Thus it is continued by the risk analysis and determining the risks and hazards at the different point of the supply chain with different hazard identification tools. The methods used are What-if and HAZOP analysis, as well as FMEA. Finally, Risk Matrix is used, by estimating the risk frequency and analysing the consequences of those risks that can cause accidents and loss in this industry.

With the results of these methods the risks are evaluated to be able to conduct the risk assessment, where we compared the results with the requirements and acceptable levels, as well as suggest some possible improvements in order to reduce the risk situations or diminish their effects. The methodology described is also shown in the figure below:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

4.1 User requirements:

In all the European Union countries food legislation is the same. These regulations are determined together with all the EU member states but they are also complemented by some other specific regulations that are determined by each country. In the case of Sweden this is the Swedish Food Act (slv.se).

As a general rule, the regulation requires that all the companies that treat or distribute food must implement food safety management procedures to control and reduce any risk related with hygiene. These measures have to be written down and mainly based on the HACCP principle, which stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points. The main values of HACCP are identifying hazards, identifying control measures to prevent these hazards, check that these measures are effective and take action if something goes wrong. Some others management systems can be accepted if they were implemented before and they accomplish the requirements (north-dorset.gov.uk).

All these practices are very important to avoid unnecessary risks. It is also important that the products are controlled at all the steps of the chain, until they arrive at the retailer because if there is any product quality problem the retailer should be able to know where the product comes from and which company produced it (ica.se).

The regulations are also very strict when it comes to labelling of the products. Thus all the products’ labels should be written in the language of the consumers’ country and all the drawings should be comprehensible for all the users. Any component has to be reported on the label, even if it is in very low percentage to avoid risks with possible allergies. In the label should also be specified where the raw products come from, especially in the case of meat, and in which country it is produced (slv.se).

When it comes to food additives regulations are also quite severe. Since food additives are substances added to ensure safety and quality that facilitate storage and use of the foodstuff they should always be reported in the labelling and used at the lowest necessary level. Additives cannot be used in unprocessed foodstuff as well as some traditional products produced in their origin territory. All the possible additives that can be used are listed, separated by food types in the annexes II and III of the Community list, following the conditions stated in the legislations (Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008).

Concerning genetic modified food or food produced from genetically modified organisms there are some specifications that have also to be considered. These legislations are mainly intended to inform the consumer and provide them with transparency regarding these products; all the properties and characteristics that differ from the original product must be written on the label. In addition, all the products that have been genetically modified or contain any ingredient that has been genetically modified cannot be very nutritionally different from the original product and they must not have any negative effect on humans and animals health or the environment. All the companies that treat these kinds of products need a special authorization (Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003).

Furthermore, animal welfare and health is important to avoid risk and contribute to the quality and safety of the products. By treating animal in good conditions the spreading of diseases can be avoid or reduced. In order to verify the HACCP conditions concerning animals feeding and welfare inspections, verification, audits, testing and so forth have to be done. In addition to that, member states should ensure that all the meat products consumed in their country but produced in another are controlled in the same way. Animals should be treated well, avoiding unnecessary suffering, with sufficient supervision and a healthy environment to avoid diseases (Regulation (EC) No 882/2004).

Nowadays, there is an increasing demand uncertainty when it comes to foodstuff. This is due to a large number of factors as the increasing product variety and strong competition. This can be seen in, for example ICA which is currently offering also they own brand products, which increases even more the range of products. These products are usually produced by some brand-known suppliers that are also selling their products without the brand (ICA’s annual report, 2008).

In this industry there is also an increasing necessity towards communication with suppliers in order to being able to follow the food products all along the supply chain and make sure that all the hygiene and safety measures are fulfilled. In the case of ICA it is connected with its suppliers by an internet-based information channel. This net facilitates suppliers obtaining information because it is often updated with current information. The information can be accessed faster and avoids having to contact them every time they require some information (ica.se).

5 Risk analysis:

After knowing the main requirements, it is important to know how the system works. To be more specific we have to define what is the perishable food?

5.1 System description:

Perishable food is referred to those products that are fresh, such as different kind of meat, fish products, vegetables, and fruits that can be degraded over time and are sensitive to environmental conditions. The supply chain of perishable food includes following main nodes:

- Supplier

The supplier is usually from a third world country, where the weather and land conditions are ideal and, costs of production as labour work, raw materials, land, and taxes are much easy to afford.

- Exporter/ Importer

Exporters and importers are frequently the second and the second last actors in the supply chain. They are the main interface with the producer and with the retailer. Both usually handle the transaction selling.

- Regulation’s and Export/Import customs

The role of these organizations (governmental and/or private) is to manage and regulate the import and export of food according to the health regulations in each country. They can stop the batch of food depending on a risk assessment of the food; that means that they are the controller of the quality of the food in the supply chain.


Excerpt out of 28 pages


Risk Analysis and Assessment in Perishable Food Supply Chain
Chalmers University of Technology Foundation Göteborg
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
898 KB
Risk Management
risk, analysis, assessment, perishable, food, supply, chain
Quote paper
Mohsen Shirani (Author), 2011, Risk Analysis and Assessment in Perishable Food Supply Chain , Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/192103


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