January 12, 2020
By Kathy Chiao, Specialist, Marketing, SQFI
News headlines that include words such as “recall,” “foodborne illness,” and “contamination” get the attention of consumers. That’s why it is crucial for retailers, food production and manufacturing facilities to elevate their food safety management systems to protect their brands, their buyers, and their bottom lines. With many retailers in the U.S. sourcing their products from Latin America, they must ensure that the supply chain meets the highest food safety standards.
Brazil is one of the largest importers of food supplies into the U.S. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the largest categories imported from Brazil are unroasted coffee ($934 million), fruit and vegetable juices ($501 million), and red meats ($281 million). As a result, both U.S retailers with supply chain facilities in Brazil and Brazilian-based exporters are demanding high quality products for consumers. This puts Brazilian food producers and manufacturers under increasing pressure to adopt more robust food safety practices. Many of these food suppliers are turning to food safety Certification Program Owners (CPO) for solutions.
As the largest CPO in North America, the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) seeks to assist retailers and food suppliers alike by expanding its resources into Brazil. At the Consumer Forum in Sao Paolo, SQFI’s representative in Brazil, Palova Marquez, introduced the SQF Fundamentals Program to retailers and suppliers as a solution to their food safety challenges.
To date, only a very small percentage of all food producers and manufacturers in Brazil have some form of food safety certification as a part of their operations. This leaves a vast majority of the market in need of a food safety management system to take their businesses to the next level. Created as a stepwise approach to assist small to medium sized food facilities, the SQF Fundamentals Program is a fitting solution for food suppliers in Brazil, a country where most of its food production and manufacture facilities are classified as small businesses, with many of these businesses having less than four employees. Following the steps of the SQF Fundamentals Program will give small, Brazilian businesses the ability to create a robust food safety management system or improve on existing food safety practices, allowing food suppliers to get their products into the international market.
In order to maintain and improve the safety and quality of food products, it is very important to foster an open dialogue between suppliers and retailers. Transparent discussions of the challenges facing the food industry allows for the creation of viable solutions to overcome these hurdles.