Lack of auditors and visibility in food supply chain

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

A deficit in auditors to meet demand and a lack of visibility in the supply chain are major challenges to the auditing of food and drink firms, a leading consultant in the field has claimed.

In this exclusive video interview, filmed at the Institute of Food Science & Technology’s 2018 Spring Conference at the University of Birmingham, Vincent Doumeizel, vice-president of food and sustainability at Lloyd’s Register, explained that it could prove difficult to find qualified auditors.

“The levels of requirement for standards keep rising all the time, so it’s very difficult to train new auditors,”​ he said. “Auditing is not an easy job, you really need to get passionate to do it and it’s not like anyone can do it.

‘The value of the auditor’

The value of your audit deepens with the value of the auditor, so we need to find the right people to meet the huge and fast-growing demand.”

Doumeizel also warned that a lack of visibility within the food supply chain meant businesses were unable to discipline suppliers who broke codes of practice, as well as limit traceability.

There are up to 20 tiers of suppliers in the food supply chain, but most big brands only have visibility of the first tier – possibly on the second if they have a very good relationship,” ​he added. “This means 16 to 17 layers of supplier are invisible to them.”

Remote auditing

Doumeizel also spoke of the future of remote auditing and how it could work hand in hand with a more conventional in-person approach, as well as the integration of artificial intelligence.

Meanwhile, the use of blockchain​ could help coordinate the different parts of the food and drink supply chain, according to James Flynn, founder and chief technical officer at food safety software provider Primority.

Related topics: Food Safety, Supply Chain

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