Towards a resilient food supply chain in the context of food safety

Mu, W.; van Asselt, E.D.; van der Fels-Klerx, H.J.


Global food supply chains have been constantly challenged by various food safety incidents or crisis. Traditional approaches on enhancing robustness of the food supply chain are not sufficient to ensure a safe food supply to the society, while building resilience as a more comprehensive approach has shown to be a good alternative option. With a resilience thinking, the food supply chain is not targeting to achieve a state of zero food safety risks, but rather to pursue the capacity to adapt and manage food safety shocks. A resilient food supply chain can still be vulnerable under the constant pressure of food safety hazards and the changing food chain environment, but has the capacity to adapt to and recover from the shocks. This study aimed to1) provide a clear definition for resilient food supply chains in the context of food safety; 2) provide a procedure to assess food safety resilience; 3) specify how a resilient food supply chain can be quantified and improved by providing a numerical example in a case study. Three dimensions of resilience factors, being time, degree of impacts caused by the food safety shocks, and degree of recovery, are suggested for assessing supply chain resilience. Results of a case study on Salmonella spp. in the pork supply chain show that the proposed framework and modelling allow for selecting the most effective strategies (having alternative suppliers, enhancing animal resilience as examples for the considered case) for improving the resilience of the supply chain for food safety.