How logistics companies can assure food safety

Logistics companies involved in the food chain must ensure that the original quality is maintained right up to final delivery. How can this be achieved? Paul Feeney, Head of Sourcing and Development, offers guidelines and examples.

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There’s a growing awareness in the MENA region of the need to identify where risks exist in the food supply chain and the need to take steps to eliminate them. Our clients are consistently talking to us about identifying not only where financial risk can occur, but also ensuring the integrity of their products. We are certainly not the only service providers in our region to face such issues. It takes only a minor shortfall in quality to have a serious impact on one’s day-today business.

Dealing with perishable food items is an especially sensitive subject in the Gulf where high temperatures exist for much of the year. Warehouses need to be equipped with the latest technology so that the temperature and humidity inside them are carefully controlled. They should also be supported by a modern a fleet of temperature-controlled vehicles that deliver products to their final destination. The modern logistics company should have the tools to track any given item throughout its journey and pinpoint every delivery vehicle en route via GPS systems.

In parallel to this investment in technology and infrastructure, food logistics companies need to meet the highest international standards. For Mohebi Logistics this means having ISO 9001 certification, being HACCP compliant and having TAPA security status. But what do these numbers and names really mean in terms of handling food products?

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In broad terms, qualifying in all these areas is a vital step for every top-rate food logistics company. On the macro level, ISO 9001 Certification ensures that the company consistently follows good management practices. So even when the volume of work expands, quality is never compromised. With regard to food safety, there’s HACCP (or Hard Analysis and Critical Control Points). This focuses on controlling food safety and avoiding food hazards – or dealing with them systematically if they arise. Another area of attention is storage facilities and transportation. TAPA (Transported Asset Protection Association) exists to help all parties – from manufacturers to delivery companies – enhance the security of the food supply chain.

The food logistics company also needs to carefully supervise the outsourced food procurement centers with which it works. Minimum criteria must be set so that the selected suppliers can complement the company’s own standards of technology and know-how.

When all these factors come together, as they do with Mohebi Logistics, the result is a food supply chain that is both highly secure and flexible. The freshness and safety of the products leaving the manufacturer’s gate is rigorously preserved while adapting to the individual needs of a varied range of clients. It doesn’t matter whether the final delivery point is a hospital, a five star hotel, a quick service restaurant or the local supermarket. They all deserve to get their produce in prime condition.