Most fast food restaurant and retail chains have experienced food recalls on a gigantic scale that has damaged their reputations, cost millions of dollars of losses in business and on the stock market. At this point, neither the industry nor government has begun to explore or realize the potential for rapid uncontrolled and unsafe home food delivery to impact human health. Food supply chain members delivering ingredients into the home delivery market have under FSMA rules unwittingly entered what is an uncontrolled food safety environment that leaves them, as suppliers, open to new liabilities not previously recognized.
The rapid growth of the food home delivery market has allowed basically inexperienced food safety suppliers into the food supply chain. The delivery companies are currently focused on common market success indicators such as costs, rapid delivery, shelf life, routing, distance, traffic and tight margins to the exclusion of food safety.
Lack of sanitation and temperature controls and adequate ingredient testing as basic home food delivery safety controls opens the door product and process liability from suppliers at all levels in the supply chain. Food delivered by UPS, mail and in car trunks has been shown to allow all home delivery suppliers to develop disclaimers for liability and responsibility intended to avoid responsibility for any potential claims.
Food supply chain and home delivery members need to establish new food safety system strategies to protect consumers and their own companies for the outbreaks that are sure to come because of the food industry’s apparent refusal to recognize and address potential home food safety problems associated with delivery strategies.