Global food supply chains are more complicated than ever before. There are cross-border supply chains to consider, decentralised food production, food fraud, outsourcing of packaging, not to mention the considerable logistics of moving and storing goods.
There are so many components that the risk of one element bringing the whole operation to a grinding halt is a very real one.
Product recall, withdrawal and food contamination is a continual growing concern for food manufacturers. Indeed, according to statistics released by Food Standards of Australia and New Zealand earlier this year, the number of food recalls in Australia almost doubled from 42 cases in 2013 to 76 in 2014. The reasons ranged from microbial and chemical contamination to biotoxins and undeclared allergens.
Managing the risks is becoming more difficult for companies and when possible risks become actual incidents, the impact on businesses can be devastating. Liability losses could potentially run into millions, while the impact on a company’s reputation can be just as damaging.
A case in point would be the reputational and financial hit taken by Nestle over the lead contamination of Maggi Noodles in India earlier this year. Nestle were required to destroy more than 400 million packets of Maggi products, and had a government ban placed on further sales, although this was rescinded in the courts subject to further product testing.
How to combat food safety risks
No company can completely eliminate the possibility of a product safety issue, but businesses can protect themselves by minimising risks as much as possible, and by having a robust crisis management plan and insurance program in place.
Product recall insurance can be invaluable in the event of a serious food safety issue due to the high costs entailed with recalling products. Businesses should look to ensure their policies cover losses caused by accidental as well as malicious contaminations, and also product extortion demands.
The best policies will also cover companies for loss of profit, expenses in helping to boost sales after a food safety crisis event, and crisis communications support – increasingly important in the digital and social media age.
At Emjay Insurance Brokers, we’ve been providing risk management and insurance advice and solutions for over 25 years. Our services include:
- Food industry Insurance – product recall risk review, including contamination, tampering, loss of profits, and third party costs/loss of profits
- Arrangement of insurance solutions and claims – we have access to a range of policies, and excellent relationships with leading insurers
- Assessment and review of any contractual liabilities
- Workers compensation consultation
If you’re involved in the food industry, it makes sense to surround yourself with reliable, knowledgeable service providers. We fit the bill. Contact us on 02 9796 0400 to discuss your needs.