PRESENTATION – Food Safety Summit: Food Safety as a Supply Chain Management Problem

Purchasing managers don’t wake up in the morning and think about how to make life more difficult for food safety managers (believe it or not!) In this post we will review food safety from a procurement perspective, and I’ve included a link to my video presentation on this subject.  

This blog post reviews my Food Safety Summit presentation and the session I convened on ‘Food Safety as a Supply Chain Management Problem.’ This was the first Food Safety Summit workshop on general supply chain management. This session was created to provide an overview of the topic and then direct recommendations for leveraging vast, comprehensive, integrated supply chain management systems.

This session was an adaptation of the lectures I gave my undergraduate students in ‘Introduction to Supply Chain Management.’

While ‘everyone knows supply chain management’ may seem like a common idea, food safety experts do not assume that ‘everyone knows food safety management.’ There are nuances to every discipline. Starting with the basics is key to creating a common foundation. Then, building on this foundation, the more intricate concepts start to become apparent.

As we do for our undergraduates, it is crucial to start with an introduction to supply chain management and how businesses make decisions. These are then built upon to review ‘how much is enough,’ as defined by COSO-based Enterprise Risk Management (COSO/ERM). Together, these enable us to focus on ‘Food Safety as a Supply Chain Problem’ through the lens of supply chain disruptions. With this perspective, there is an awareness of the efficiency of defining food safety (food fraud, food defense, cybersecurity, etc.) in the supply chain management context of supply chain disruption.

Finally, as with most of my presentations, it all boils down to conducting a vulnerability assessment, using the COSO/ERM concept of an ‘initial screening.’

Takeaway Points

  • Supply chain management concepts can be applied to food safety management.
  • The current food safety and food fraud risk assessment methods can be adapted to fit into the supply chain management and corporate risk assessments.
  • For an efficient discussion of risks – specifically, a new risk explained in relation to all other enterprise-wide risks – the assessment should be calibrated with the overall, companywide financial risks.


Spink, John W (2022). Food Safety as a Supply Chain Management Problem, Session: same title, Role: Convener and Presenter, Food Safety Summit 2022, Rosemont, Illinois, May 12, 2022, (N=253), URL (xx-minutes):

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