The food value chain is the network of stakeholders that includes producers and distributors of ingredients, manufacturers and distributors of food products, consumers, as well as governments and NGOs. As food and product safety continues to be a critical area in the food supply chain, food and beverage manufacturers need to have confidence in the food ingredient supply chain.
Food safety policies and regulations continue to require the input and collaboration of all stakeholders, as food storage and manufacturing best practices, the evaluation of consumer trends and advances in food technology is where collaboration among stakeholders can — and does — improve efficiency along the value chain.
An increasing number of end-consumers are demanding greater transparency in the food supply chain, including the origin and contents of the goods they buy. They are examining food labels more carefully and becoming more selective in their purchases, wanting to know specifics about the source of each ingredient.
Nutraceutical Business Review spoke to Helen Allinson-James, Head of Life Sciences, Brenntag UK & Ireland, to get an update on the company’s recent developments in the quality and safety of food ingredients distribution.
Brenntag has built a strong reputation for partnering with leading manufacturers of speciality ingredients and additives, including functional ingredients and solutions for clean label. Our focus on the safety and quality of the ingredients Brenntag supplies has resulted in a number of initiatives being implemented to ensure safety and quality of the ingredients in company’s vast portfolio.
Ms Allinson-James says: 'We have always been very proactive on the front of formal validation of our food safety principles, as food safety and traceability continue to be some of the major factors in the food supply chain. For instance, we have been receiving an increased number of customer requests to work towards achieving the preferred GFSI certification of British Retail Consortium (BRC).'
Given that a number of customers of Brenntag are themselves accredited to BRC 7, Helen feels that the BRC Global Standard for Storage and Distribution certification provides a critical step in closing the loop between the end-user and manufacturer, assuring additional integrity throughout the supply chain. Brenntag Widnes' site has maintained their A grade certification against the BRC7 Global Standard for Food Safety and the Storage and Distribution Standard for a number of years. The sites of Lutterworth, London, Glasgow, Bristol and Belfast have recently received BRC accreditation, and it is the company’s intention to have all Brenntag UK & Ireland distribution sites BRC certified by the end of 2016.
The BRC certification follows on from the implementation of the comprehensive Brenntag Supplier Approval System (SAPRO), developed internally, which requires mandatory food certification, audit reports, production details and product testing for food additives and ingredients supplied via the Brenntag network in Europe.
Helen says: 'The Global Supplier Approval Process ensures that all parts of the supply chain we are offering products that are produced or stored to a BRC standard or a global equivalent, thereby giving our customers reassurance of the safety of the products that we offer. We are continuously monitoring the market requirements and are working closely with regulatory bodies for the safety of the supply chain. Last year, 14 of our UK & Ireland distribution sites successfully completed ESAD II. This accreditation gives our customers an even greater confidence in the quality processes we have in place, the training our people receive, and the commitment to being the custodians of the safety for the food ingredients supply chain we operate in.'
Headquartered in Leeds, Brenntag UK & Ireland has more than 800 employees and operates through an extensive distribution depot network with a fleet in excess of 100 vehicles, maintaining its strong national identity while fully utilising the worldwide scale of Brenntag. Brenntag UK & Ireland (part of the Brenntag Group) is a market-leading ingredients distributor in the life science, environmental and material science industries, serving more than 18,000 customers nationwide.