Another Lesson on Supply Chain Risk

From Supply Chain Matters: “The recent episode of recalled tomatoes provides yet more compelling lessons related to supply chain risk in the most vulnerable of supply chains, that being food related. An outbreak of Salmonella type illness began to occur as early as April of this year. On June 7, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers against eating certain types of raw tomatoes, suspected of carrying the virulent Saintpaul strain of salmonella. The FDA alerted consumers to avoid eating certain raw tomatoes- red plum, red Roma and round red tomatoes, while federal agencies searched for the root cause of this outbreak. Food chains and restaurants reacted to the ban by removing these products from store shelves and menu’s often including many more sources to insure that they would not be sued by consumers. Meanwhile, tomato growers in Florida, California, and Mexico had significant trouble selling their crops, with Florida growers alone claiming up to $100 million in losses.

By mid-July, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the FDA were still attempting to determine a source of this outbreak, and had determined that ill persons were more likely to have recently consumed raw tomatoes, fresh jalapeno peppers, and fresh cilantro, since these items were commonly, though not always, consumed together. No doubt we all tend to like Mexican style cuisine. By the end of July, the CDC had definitively found the smoking gun, tracing the outbreak to peppers grown on a farm in Mexico. Earlier, the FDA had traced a contaminated jalapeno pepper to this same farm, indicating the source to be the irrigation water supplying this farm. Both agencies issued a statement that consumers should not eat jalapeno and Serrano peppers imported from Mexico.” Another Lesson of Supply Chain Risk for Food Supply Chains

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