» SQF Introduces Ethical Sourcing Standard
An Ethical Sourcing standard for labor and environmental practices will be added to the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Institute’s supplier auditing programs. The SQF Institute, a division of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), already audits suppliers worldwide for compliance with rigorous food safety and quality standards.
“The Ethical Sourcing standard will help advance fair labor practices and environmental stewardship on a global scale using the reach of the SQF program,” says Jill Hollingsworth, FMI group vice president of food safety programs, Washington. “This standard will give the food industry and consumers an extra measure of assurance that these practices are conducted according to the best available guidance and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.”
The environmental portion of the standard addresses energy use, air emissions, water consumption, waste management, pollution prevention, land use and biodiversity. The labor component includes equal opportunity in hiring and employment, wage compliance, worker benefits and occupational health and safety.
The SQF Institute is now pilot-testing use of the standard and training auditors how to check companies for compliance.
To review a copy of the new Ethical Sourcing standard, visit www.sqfi.com/sqf_documents.htm.
» Former Kellogg CEO To Keynote CSCMP Conference
The Honorable Carlos M. Gutierrez, former CEO and chairman of the board of Kellogg Co. and former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, will be the opening general session speaker at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ (CSCMP) 2010 Annual Global Conference to be held September 26-29 in San Diego.
“We are thrilled to have Secretary Gutierrez keynote our conference,” says Rick Blasgen, CSCMP president and CEO. “With experience in both the public and the private sectors, he will bring a unique perspective to our event, having faced the challenges of applying real world experience to government policies that impact all aspects of global trade.
His presentation will highlight the synergies and conflicts between trade policy and business realities, and will give us a preview of the future of global trade.”
» Walmart, Sam’s Club Enhance Beef Security
Taking a proactive approach to protecting its customers against foodborne illnesses, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville, AR, will implement additional beef safety measures. The new process controls standards and goals are additions to a food safety program that already requires ground beef suppliers to test for E.coli O 157:H7 and achieve prevention-based certification against one of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) internationally recognized standards.
“At Walmart and Sam’s Club, our commitment to providing our customers with safe, quality foods is unparalleled,” says Frank Yiannas, vice president for food safety. “As part of our continuous improvement efforts, we go further than many U.S. retailers in requiring leading-edge food safety standards throughout the entire food production chain. In light of recent beef recalls, we determined it was prudent to require an additional layer of protection for our customers.”
The program requires Walmart and Sam’s Club beef suppliers to implement controls that would significantly reduce potential contamination levels and validate that the measures they’ve implemented are effective through specialized testing. Suppliers who do not operate slaughter houses must be in compliance with the new standard by June 2011. For beef slaughterhouse suppliers, there is a two-step approach with the first step to be completed by June 2011 and the second by June 2012.
The protocol has been reviewed with numerous stakeholders including consumer groups, regulators, academicians, beef suppliers and industry associations. “Walmart has taken steps to provide its customers with the safest possible beef products,” says Dr. James Marsden of Kansas State University. “Consumers across the United States will benefit greatly from this timely food safety initiative.”
According to Jim Dickson, Iowa State University professor of animal science, “Walmart is taking a progressive approach to assuring the safety of the foods they sell. This is a win for the consumers, the beef industry in general and Walmart. The lessons learned from Walmart’s approach will be applicable to ground beef sold everywhere.”
» WFLO, FrigiPak Explore Cold Chain In Pakistan
The World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO) and FrigiPak Pakistan have entered a joint effort called the Pakistan Cold Chain Assessment to evaluate the feasibility of developing a sustainable cold chain in Pakistan.
The partners have received a $392,328 grant from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to support the project.
The Pakistan Cold Chain Assessment will focus on issues of cold storage infrastructure, technological availability, post-harvest capabilities, and economic strengths and weakness.
This assessment will also identify locations for potential investment and positive fiscal returns in the cold chain. The effort will begin with a desktop review of past and current projects in Pakistan, followed by an intensive in-country assessment of five geographic locations.
The assessment will examine the existing cold chain in Pakistan, including technical assistance and commercial development needed to improve post-harvest handling. The findings and conclusions of the assessment will be documented in a final report, which will include recommendations on needs for technical assistance as well as opportunities for future investment.
» ATA Commits To Improving Trucking Safety Record
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) told a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that the trucking industry is now the safest it has ever been, but there is still room for improvement.
“Improving motor carrier and highway safety is about understanding the behaviors that cause crashes and addressing the factors that raise crash risk,” says Dave Osiecki, ATA senior vice president, during the Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security Subcommittee hearing on Oversight of Motor Carrier Safety Efforts. “Future programs and government-issued rules will only succeed to the degree that they address crash risk and causation.”
Osiecki says ATA shares FMCSA’s goals for its CSA 2010 initiative, but offered three recommendations to help better target carriers most in need of intervention:
- Make crash accountability or “causation” determinations on truck-involved crashes before entering them into a carrier’s profile.
- Use vehicle miles traveled, not number of trucks, as a carrier’s exposure measure.
- Focus on using actual citations and not unadjusted “warnings” from law enforcement.
ATA supports the current HOS rules, but suggested modifying the sleeper berth rule to allow for limited flexibility to encourage greater use of circadian friendly naps, which promote safety and driver health. Extensive federal safety data shows that trucking industry safety performance has improved substantially since the current HOS rules took effect in 2004.
The number of truck-involved crash injuries per 100 million miles has dropped 25 percent and the truck-involved fatality rate has dropped 22 percent. The fatal crash rate has dropped 66 percent since the DOT began keeping those records in 1975, and is now at an historical low.
Osiecki also told the subcommittee that FMCSA should require new carriers to complete a safety training class, including an exam, before commencing operation. The initial safety audit conducted by FMCSA should also take place within 6 months of start-up, rather than 18 months, as is required now.
“FMCSA should not just focus on regulations,” says Osiecki. “It should develop tools and resources that foster safety. Government, working with industry, can facilitate a more effective approach by providing safety management tools, like a drug and alcohol test results clearinghouse.
» Dunkin’ Donuts Enters Russian, Ukraine Markets
With its first restaurant opening in Moscow on May 11, Dunkin’ Donuts, Canton, MA, plans to expand throughout Russia and Ukraine over the next several years.
Donuts Project LLC, its franchise partner in Russia, is set to open between 10 and 20 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in Moscow and the Moscow region in 2010.
Dunkin’ Donuts’ entry into Russia comes on the heels of the brand’s expansion throughout Europe and the Asia-Pacific market. In Europe, the company has approximately 70 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in Germany, Spain and Bulgaria.
Dunkin’ Brands, parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, already has established a successful and growing presence in Russia. Baskin-Robbins has nearly 150 shops in the region and recently opened its first shop in Sochi, Russia.
» USF Helps Restaurants Grow With Fresh Ideas
By combining fresh seasonal produce with the latest trends in healthy eating, U.S. Foodservice, Rosemont, IL is helping its restaurant operator customers make this spring a season of business growth.
Operators can visit foodsight (www.usfoodsight.com) and Beyond the Plate (www.beyondtheplate.com) to learn new ways to incorporate fresh, seasonal produce into menu items through articles, recipes, interactive resources and a chat room to connect with peers and consumers.
Foodsight features information, including “How to Freshen Up Your Salads for More Sales,” “How to Create Better Burgers that Buck the Recession” and “How Operators everywhere are putting a fresh spin on produce.”
“Consumers and chefs love using produce in season— it’s more flavorful and economical,” says Pat Mulhern, president, Monarch Food Group, a division of U.S. Foodservice. “We work with suppliers to procure the best and freshest items in season. The foodsight and Beyond the Plate websites provide professionals with the information they need to maximize the menu potential of all their produce.”