In 2018 a specialist ingredient supplier faced losing major contracts because trace levels of an unexpected allergen had been detected in their product. Although it was not at a concentration that would pose a consumer risk in the manufactured food, its presence at any concentration contravened the trading policies of key retail customers.
Acumentia member John Points was able to combine audit experience, expertise in allergen controls and a knowledge of analytical testing to investigate the probable cause. After conducting both a full supply chain audit and a critical review of the testing technology, he was able to provide an expert opinion that the most likely cause was a non-allergenic interfering substance, previously un-noted because the test kit had never been applied to this type of ingredient. The company was able to use his opinion to gain a derogation from the retailer policies and to continue trading.
Risk-based analytical testing
Own-label retailers and their suppliers can spend a lot of money on analytical testing for chemical contaminants and authenticity checks. Often this is driven by legacy policies that were introduced in response to a particular incident or food scare.
Acumentia member John Points worked with a retailer to review their testing policies, changing from prescriptive testing frequencies to a risk-based approach that complemented their other supply chain assurance procedures. Testing was focused at the most appropriate point in the supply chain for each individual contaminant or risk, and John helped to train and roll-out the new approach to suppliers, a key aspect of the policy change. The change in policy ensured that analytical testing added much more value to the supply chain assurance system, whilst being overall cost-neutral.