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May 13, 2020

Securing the Food & Beverage Supply Chain

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When it comes to global cargo theft, Food and Beverage products are the most frequently stolen commodities, according to supply chain insurer TT Club.  The combination of their ubiquity, which makes stolen shipments hard to trace, along with their ease of resale, make this category a prime target for thieves.  


Cambridge Security Seals is renowned for its partnering with leading Food and Beverage producers and distributors to develop and improve security protocols designed to safeguard their products from theft, malicious tampering, contamination, and any other event or circumstance that can produce a less-than-100% verified chain of custody along the supply chain. What the world is witnessing during the current unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and global response is a supply chain crisis marked by shortages and price spikes of some products, along with virtually nonstop shipments of staples to keep shelves stocked. 


Unfortunately, as a result of dramatic and rapid situationally necessitated changes to existing tried and true systems, security protocols have suffered, and their unreliability has led to a rising level of criminal activity. A crisis, however, does not obviate Food and Beverage companies from their responsibilities to safeguard their products all the way to the consumer.


 “All food businesses have a legal and commercial responsibility to supply safe food and comply with food regulatory requirements in the country of manufacture and the country of sale if it’s known,” explains LeAnn Chuboff, Safe Quality Food Institute Vice President of Technical Affairs.  This means its not just about profits – its about the safety and lives of the consumers.


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Tamper-Evident Tape and Labels

Companies that excel at product safety throughout the supply chain typically implement multiple levels of security.  This usually includes procedures to maintain security and control over the storage, handling, and processing of the product, from the raw material stage all the way to the consumer. For many customers, tamper-evident tape or labels are instrumental in their security protocols, as they are easily applied within the packing or packaging processes, and show visual evidence in the event of tampering.  With the rise of the COVID-19 awareness, more and more consumers are demanding this type of security from restaurants, food retailers, and other take-out or delivery-based businesses.


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Security Seals

CSS’s extensive line of fully customizable high-security and tamper-evident security seals play an important role as businesses utilize them to safeguard against the risk of theft or a deliberate act of sabotage along variouspoints in the supply chain.  High security seals – also known as barrier seals - such as our ISO and C-TPAT certified Bolt Seals and Cable Seals, typically require a heavy-duty tool to break, which presents an added obstacle to a nefarious individual. CSS also offers a wide variety of plastic tamper-evident seals that provide both deterrence and instant visual detection that the integrity of the shipment may have been breached or compromised.


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Track & Trace

CSS security seals are available in a variety of sizes, strengths, and colors, and can be customized to help ensure against counterfeiting.   Standard customization options include company logos or other information that is printed or engraved alongside the unique seal identifiers, which can be serial numbers, 1D or 2D barcodes, or QR codes.


CSS also works hand-in-hand with its customers to develop effective track-and-trace processes for every shipment, and offers a variety of devices and solutions for this specific purpose.  This adds an additional layer of security, as well as provide the framework for real-time tracking of location, temperature, impacts, or other events as the products are transported throughout the supply chain.




But even the very best processes and protocols are only effective if the employees, shippers, drivers, receivers, and all other participants in the supply chain are trained to both observe and enforce the protocols. It is important to never assume that protocols will be followed simply because they have been established.  CSS is happy to provide complimentary instruction to any customer on the effective use of its products, including the proper ways to apply, check, record, receive, and remove security seals – as well as how to react and respond to a broken seal or potentially compromising event during shipment.


“A failure of any product safety programs can have serious consequences,” points out Steve Hoffman, Lead Auditor for NSF International, the leading global organization responsible for the development of public health standards and certification programs that help protect the world’s food, water, consumer products and environment. “But for me the most effective thing is a culture of continuous improvement that includes constant, aggressive challenges to the status quo and elimination of complacency.”


As a global leader in supply chain security, CSS has always been committed to working with every customer to ensure a continuous improvement in the safeguarding of products and shipments. The current crisis demands even greater vigilance, and CSS personnel have literally been working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help the industry meet the escalating challenges facing the Food and Beverage supply chain. 


“We consider it not just our job, but our responsibility, to do all we can to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of every shipment,” explains Elisha Tropper, CSS’s CEO. “Our fervent hope is that the pandemic will be halted and that everyone – our families, friends, employees, customers, suppliers, and even competitors – will safely return in good health to their lives and lifestyles which we all took for granted such a short time ago.”