Management Essays – Food Ethics

Food Ethics

Ethics is considered as strategic management, which is most important in all facets of business decisions. Ethical business should communicate ethical behaviour and fair treatment to all its stake holders. There should be an ethical approach balancing profitability with welfare of life and conservation of life. With the increasing competitiveness in food industry, rampant use of technology and science in the development of new products is increasing, so many issues arise which are to be managed sensitively in food industry’s conduct and place in society is to be seen as morally acceptable and ethically supportable. Ethical issues exist is the way food is produced and consumed especially to those who concerns about keeping and slaughtering of food animals and preservation of land for the benefit of the future generations. Food industries are producing food products with a great nutritive values but they also should consider about the health aspects of consumers because health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well being not merely absence of diseases. World as enormously benefited by the development of science and technology, science is value laden and increasingly driven by commercial interests, with a less concentration on ethics. Mostly concept of ethics will come into existence where the addition of food ingredients is concerned because some ingredients may be good to health, may increase appetite, but is that addition is ethical. Major option frequently taken by food industries is product reformation, replacingcostly raw materials from the cheaper raw materials although products are sold under same brand names they are different products with different formulations and often lower qualities of design. Most of the times consumers cannot find the change because of brand loyalty and advertising are capable of preventing drift to alternative product and many consumers remain unaware of the extent of change. This is the platform where moral values and ethical values come into lime light. Pertaining to the operations, various moral issues such as health and safety procedures for employees, hygiene standards and treatment of animals including, feeding and slaughtering methods of factory farming and rearing.

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Three main ethical principles to be followed in all food supply chains are:

  • capability t understanding the product and its related risks
  • the choice of goods provided by competition
  • Sufficient information to judge how expectations of goods are satisfied.

Quality and safety management

Quality and safety aspects in the food supply chain are very important because these finalise the quality and safety of finished product before it reaches the final end user. Food safety and quality characteristics management in food supply chain play a very important role in food industry. Different food products will have different quality standards. In the product life cycle quality and safety management plays pivotal role to maintain its quality throughout its life cycle. Quality should be managed in such a way that the quality is maintained still the product reaches the maturity level and reaches the buyer. To establish quality assurance in agricultural and food business it is important to consider the particular characteristics of raw materials. Quality management differs from the product to product depending on raw materials, shelf life of the product, storage and mode of transport. Quality management differs from industry to industry. Different industries follow different quality and safety management standards.

Packaging, Storage and Transportation

Packaging adds value to the food product. Packaging is the medium which holds the product. Different food products have different packaging medium. Packaging is used for containment, protection, handling, delivery and presentation of goods from raw materials to processed goods, from producer to consumer. Packaging medium varies from product to product and from industry to industry.

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Food storage is almost the final stage of food supply chain. But this is very important phase because it gives the accommodation to the finished product storage is different in entire length of supply chain such as storage at the raw material production, storage of raw material at the manufacturer stage, storage of finished products in the manufacturers warehouse before consignment, finally storage at the retail selling point. If the storage at any of the above points is not up to the mark total quality of the product deteriorates and leads to huge loss. So storage plays very vital role in entire supply chain. Moreover storage style of all products are not same It varies from product to product depending on the perish ability of product. Different manufactures uses different storage at different phases of the entire supply chain. Thus storage is one of the important aspects of the food supply chain.

Transportation is the final stage of supply chain, it is the very major stage of food supply chain because it is the stage where the finished product reaches the consumption point. Transportation of different food products demands different transport medium depending on the nature of the product. Through out the transportation of product the environment of the product should be compatible to the product. Transport conditions of the different products differ from each other, different food industries follows different transportation medium basing on the product characteristics.

References:

  • Stainer, L., Gully, A., Stainer, A,. The UK Food Supply Chain- An Ethical Perspective, Vol 7, number 4, October 1998.
  • Early, R., Food Ethics: a decision making tool for the food industry? International Journal of food science and technology, 31 October 2001.
  • Manning, L., Baines,R.,N., Effective management of food safety and quality. Bristish Food Journal, Vol 106, No.8, 2004.
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