Just a few days ago, I blogged about the tainting of soft drinks through supply chain malfeasance here. I just came across this blog entry by Guardian writer George Monbiot which outlines the facts behind a very interesting — and hard to trace — contamination of a supply chain in the UK. Here, the culprit is a highly regulated chemical that is unfortunately quite persistent and hangs around in the supply chain (in this case the food chain) long after it’s initial use.
While this incident deals with persistent chemicals in the food chain, in my mind it is exactly the same systemic issue as the more general issue of traceability in the supply chain. As to the question of why we don’t see more of these incidences given the complexity and interconnected nature of our supply chains — and food chains — the short answer may be that very often we don’t know what we are looking for and so we blame the “issue” on some other cause — as in this case where others chalked up their problems to weather, poor growing conditions, insects and such.
My take — if we examined many of these “isolated incidents” from a more systemic perspective we may well find that our supply chains and food chains are much more contaminated than we currently think.