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The future of traceability within the U.S. food industry supply chain: a business case

Sameer Kumar (Opus College of Business, University of St Thomas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)
Dawn Heustis (Opus College of Business, University of St Thomas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)
Jacqueline M Graham (Opus College of Business, University of St Thomas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 12 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the US food industry supply chain based on a case study of a leading US global processed food manufacturer to determine areas for improvement in the recall process to reduce the possibility of harming consumers with unsafe products.

Design/methodology/approach

Current US Food and Drug Administration and US Department of Agriculture regulations were evaluated to understand the minimum requirements placed upon members of the supply chain within the US food industry. Thereafter, a situation analysis was conducted followed by a cause and effect analysis to illustrate weaknesses within typical recall procedures. Substantiation of the analysis was based on specific information provided by managers from various functional areas of the processed food manufacturer in their interviews and their perspective about the recall/traceability process and its complexities.

Findings

Improvement concepts considered were: the implementation of Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID); the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Recall Portal; and standardized global regulations within the food industry. Various phases of RFID are being piloted within the US food industry, but are not yet being widely studied due to the lack of immediate implementation requirements. Specific results pertaining to the FMI Recall Portal are not available due to its recent launch. Research indicated various regulatory processes implemented in individual countries, but no global standards have been agreed upon and initiated.

Practical implications

The improvement ideas have implications for timely communication among supply chain partners, resulting in less contaminated product in the hands of consumers. The ability to make these improvements will require collaboration among global suppliers through global regulations and top management support.

Originality/value

Understanding the gaps within current regulations and emphasizing the global footprint of how the food industry truly transformed itself into a global marketplace. Future studies need to focus on the cost impact of full RFID implementation across the entire food industry, with an understanding of cost burden ownership and worldwide integration.

Keywords

Citation

Kumar, S., Heustis, D. and Graham, J.M. (2015), "The future of traceability within the U.S. food industry supply chain: a business case", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 64 No. 1, pp. 129-146. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPPM-03-2014-0046

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited