Top 5 questions you should be asking your food suppliers

Food suppliers can have a major impact on your food business and the products that you produce. With this in mind, it makes good business sense to make sure that they are doing everything within their responsibilities to ensure you only receive the best products. In this post find out what you should be asking your food suppliers to ensure that your finished product is safe and your business is not at risk.

Supply-Chain Program

Using approved suppliers is fundamental component to producing safe food. Second to this is knowing as much information about your food suppliers as possible. The more information you have, the more informed your decision when selecting and approving food suppliers.

As a starting point, it is suggested that you pose the following questions to your food suppliers.

1. Do they have any food safety regulatory or legal breaches?

Having knowledge about your food supplier’s food compliance can provide you a good insight into not only their food safety practices but also their business ethos. If they avoid this question, have they got something to hide? You can also check government databases for food recalls, warning letters and prosecution notices.

2. Do they have suitable food safety controls in place?

This question may seem like a no-brainer but still always good to ask. You can get more specific and ask for information on their CCPs, heating temperatures etc. Do some research on expected food safety controls for each of the raw materials you receive into your facility. Comparing the two will then allow you to determine the risk of the raw material.

3. Do they have a third-party certification system in place?

If your food supplier is certified to a GFSI recognized certification standard you can at least be guaranteed that there is a good level of food safety compliance in place. It is suggested that when you get a copy of their current certification, you double check that the scope of certification matches the product they are supplying to you.

4. Where does the product come from?

Having knowledge of the products country of origin is fundamental if you are completing a raw material and supplier risk assessment. This information provides insight into the potential for food fraud, microbiological, chemical, allergenic and physical contamination.

5. Are they the primary manufacturer?

Are you buying direct from the manufacturer or through a network of brokers? The more complex the supply chain the more chance there is of things going wrong, especially for temperature sensitive ingredients. This information is also essential when mapping your traceability system.

Supply Chain Risk Assessment

Completing an effective supply chain risk assessment is fundamental to the success of your supply-chain program. It is also a mandatory requirement in many customer standards and GFSI requirements. HACCP Mentor regularly runs “how-to” risk assessment courses. Click here to find out more information.

Have you asked your food suppliers these questions?

Do you have a good supplier assessment process in place? What questions do you ask? Share your experience and knowledge with the HACCP Mentor community by leaving a comment below this post.


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