In a new dissertation Pauline van Beusekom has explored the phenomenon of logistic response to food safety incidents in food supply chains. As it is impossible to prevent all food safety incidents, food actors need to be prepared to design an effective logistic response for these incidents, as health, political and business risks can be at stake.
Food supply chains are becoming more complex and the consumer more demanding, indicating the need for effective decision-making to retain consumer trust in food safety. After many serious food safety incidents in recent years, research has shown that this has led to diminishing trust in food safety on the part of the consumer.
As food sources are essential for human life, the WHO stated that at a global and national level ‘access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health’. This stresses the need to enhance an effective logistic response in the whole food supply chain by the supply chain positions, such as the producer and the involved governmental institutes.
Despite the contributions of various researchers and practitioners, procedures, and tools for the decision-making process of the logistic response to food safety incidents, the involved supply chain positions remain challenged when it comes to responding effectively. The research objective of the study by Pauline van Beusekom is to present a comprehensive framework that identifies the decision-making process for an effective logistic response to food safety incidents, in which the perspectives of the positions are distinguished. By developing a sense-making comprehensive framework, we intend to provide more insight and a better understanding of an effective logistic decision-making process in cases of such incidents, distinguishing the views of the food supply chain positions.
To meet the objective, Pauline van Beusekom defined three research questions:
1. What are the phases in the decision-making process of the response framework for an effective logistic response to food safety incidents?
2. What are the critical decision-making elements for an effective logistic response to food safety incidents in the different phases of the decision-making process?
3. What are the views of the supply chain positions on the phases and critical decision-making elements for an effective logistic response to food safety incidents?
Based on the findings in the literature review, Pauline van Beusekom distinguished four response phases: food safety incident, ex-ante, food safety incident assessment, and ex-post. The fifth phase, lessons learned was added based on the emergence in the empirical data, which adds feedback and organizational learning to the framework.
The results demonstrate the interdependence of elements in the food chains and the importance of transparent food safety incident response processes. Accessibility of information is perceived as the most significant challenge or opportunity for an effective logistic response by all positions.
The research developed a sense-making comprehensive framework for an effective logistic response to food safety incidents, consisting of five response phases and four critical decision-making elements (the 4Cs) allocated to each phase.