PHOTO: All Rights, Microsoft Corporation
The supermarket supply-chain scandal in Europe continues to spread. The horsemeat that was substituted for beef in the supermarkets, seems to have found its way into Swedish meatballs at European Ikea stores. Could it also be in the US stores? In South Africa, testing of foods has failed to show any horsemeat. That's the good news. However, it appears that South African's are a bit more suspicious than their European counterparts and did further testing. Water Buffalo and donkey were found.
Do we really want to know what's in our outsourced food supply chain? In a lot of cases the answer is, "No!" Which is partially why we are probably eating a lot of things that we are consuming a lot of things we never thought we would. Likewise, a lot of outsourcing programs nasty bits in them that we have chosen not to know about, and without active management they too have spread through the system.
Regardless of what your contract says, it is only one form of communication between you and your vendor. Often, the contract is not the most important communication, or parts of the contract are of much less importance (and less frequently discussed). Issues of substitution in a supply chain happen frequently. In aircraft maintenance there is a complex process where every part ever produced follows a elaborate tracking process with up to six government agencies tracing every single part by serial number. Food supplies and outsourcers are somewhat less regulated.
Vendors rarely "pull the wool ( I hope it's wool!) over the client's eyes." Instead, it's the vendor and the client working together to avoid talking about certain aspects of the outsourcing program. Putting a list of "thou shalt not's" into a contract doesn't mean much if you never measure or ask about these issues. We don't know what they will find next in our food supply chain, but you can be sure that your outsourcing program is doing what it's supposed to if your management process reflects your true concerns.