Report grades 25 fast food chains on the use of antibiotics in their meat supply
The report “Chain Reaction”, published by public interest groups this week, gives grades to the 25 biggest U.S. fast food chains on their policies regarding the use of antibiotics in their meat supply chain. Only five of them earned a passing grade. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest health threats in the U.S. and is, among other things, caused by the overuse of antibiotics in the food supply. Of the 2 million people who get antibiotic-resistant infections every year, 23,000 die.
Panera and Chipotle, which both received an “A”, are the only chains which offer a wide range of meat that does not contain antibiotics. Chick-fil-A received a “B” for having decreased the use of antibiotics in its chicken supply chain and promising to eliminate them completely by 2019. McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts received a “C” as they have policies to reduce the use of antibiotics, but they do not give precise information about the time and the amount of the reduction. The remaining fast food chains all received an “F”, for not having policies at all or for having policies that do not limit the use of antibiotics. Among them are Burger King, Starbucks and Subway. In the report, the chains which received a failing grade are requested to limit their use of antibiotics in the meat and poultry supply, as they are contributing to the creation of drug-resistant superbugs and the increase of antibiotic resistance.
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African nations developed a certification framework to eliminate conflict materials
The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), a group of 12 African countries, are working on a new certification framework to get rid of conflict minerals. The so-called “Regional Certification Mechanism” specifies several steps and a system of checks and balances. One of the measures is the validation of conflict-free mines. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, 140 of the 180 mines already have that validation, which is a crucial step for the war-stricken country.
During the past years, companies were obligated to eliminate conflict materials, such as tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold from their supply chains. Following the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, listed companies in the U.S. have to reveal the use of minerals coming from central Africa and indicate their steps to find out the source. The list of validated mines will make it easier for companies to find the sources of conflict-free minerals. It was compiled by representatives of the United Nations, business groups and the Congolese government, who verify the mines once a year, especially in the conflict-areas, based on certain criteria. The mines are then classified in green, yellow and red and disclosed on the website of the ICGLR. Moreover, every country is required to identify the minerals in circulation and their sources, and keep the materials conflict-free. This will be verified and certificated by independent parties.
Although this process is an important step for the Democratic Republic of Congo, some things remain to be improved, says Joanne Lebert, director of the Great Lakes Program at Partnership Africa Canada (PAC). According to Lebert, the system is too complex and requires more support from the Congolese government, in cooperation with the E.U. and the U.S.
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Penn State Harrisburg conducts research on supply chain management
As nearly half of all the goods coming to the U.S. are shipped to the ports on the west coast, unexpected events, so-called “black swans”, in these locations can have serious implications on the flow of the goods. Penn State Harrisburg conducts research on this topic, investigating how disruptions like labor disputes, natural disasters and terrorist events affect supply chains, and how companies can prepare. One strategy is to spread logistics to several ports rather than a single one. Peter Swan, associate professor of logistics and operations management, says that the research will be useful for mid-level retailers like Staples and Toys R Us, as the larger retailers like Walmart and Target have the necessary means to prepare for supply chain disruptions themselves.
Richard R. Young, professor of supply chain management, conducted research on the impact of terrorism and developed several recommendations for companies to prepare for that case. Young further examined how supply chain management guidelines were used after natural disasters to shift goods from governments and organizations to the victims. He points out that companies from different sectors and countries need to work together in advance of the disaster to be able to decrease human suffering. Dinesh R. Pai, assistant professor of supply chain management, examined how multi-billion dollar firms deal with complexity factors in logistics, such as the number and types of suppliers, the number of ports and official regulations, and how this affects their costs. These can be reduced by processing the goods from the port rapidly or by simplifying the supply chain.
For further information on the research, click here.
Have a nice weekend!