Efficient and Transparent Supply Chain Systems Key for Food Safety

Food safety remains a priority throughout the whole supply chain. From manufacturer, its suppliers and logistics service providers, to a retailer and ultimately the end-user, critical care needs to be applied to ensure that food safety and hygiene are not compromised.

It has become more than a necessity, but an obligation for the logistics service providers to provide clients with necessary controls to ensure best practices and operations when it comes to food safety and hygiene. This is even more pertinent within the perishable and chilled industry, as compliance to temperature controls and inventory management for short product life is a non-negotiable.

Today’s client expects peace of mind. They want to focus on their core business, and leave the rest to experts in their respective fields. It is the logistics service provider’s responsibility to ensure quality product reaches the consumer at all times. Indeed, it is incumbent on the manufacturers to ensure product process standards are adhered to, proper packaging is in place and that the entire supply chain processes are taken into account before approaching service providers.

Where food is concerned, some factors cannot be neglected, for example, clean facilities, internal and external site housekeeping, temperature controls, pest control, and good food product traceability in case of product recalls. Another key factor that that is important is reverse logistics and all the challenges that go with this process.

Within the supply chain, there’s always product returned or ordering inefficiencies. With this in mind, it is important to ensure that logs are managed and that quality service is provided to the customer.

Stringent processes should be created and followed in terms of managing reverse logistics as well as understanding the complexity of this process compared with forward logistics.

The realities of reverse logistics call for close collaboration with all parties involved in the supply chain process to make sure that product safety standards are met, proper training is implemented and food safety and standards regulations are adhered to.


Logistics service providers should ensure compliance and be audited regularly. Adopt a programme and:

  • Train all staff in processes defined with the client, thus ensuring continuity in the application of best practices
  • Set out formal working conditions and environments within a strict framework
  • Allows for all parties to be involved in defining roles and responsibilities
  • Ensure that the programme is designed to be adaptable in order to adhere to changes as closely as possible

Transportation of Perishable Foods

One of the key challenges or contributing factors leading to food risks or inefficiencies in the logistics industry is transportation. There is a need to become a lot more agile in order to increase efficiencies and reduce costs. Handling fragile products, for example, dairy products like yoghurt – with stacking constraints to minimise the risk of product damage to the sensitive lower boxes during transit - is a challenge. Furthermore, stacking palletised perishable goods on top of each other is impractical, considering their fragile nature. Unique solutions are a necessity in this environment such as a double decker solution in insulated fibreglass truck bodies and trailers for optimal use of trailer volumetric loading capacity.


Contributed by: Friedel Spies: Business Development Director South Africa, ID Logistics