Geographic indication (GI) is a symbolic presentation of a product or service to show its origin and location. The special qualities of a product include some characteristics which are displayed by its GI (Tennant, 2001). For example, a product or service belongs to a country or region which will differentiate it from other products because of the features and quality of its being related to origin. The production of a product may make its reputation with increased market sale or brand image. It is considered that geographic location of a product may promote the service or sales volume.
There are some issues that are associated to GI of food products, consumers and political circles. Food products are known for the quality and taste of products for its manufacturing and services (Nanda, 2005). It is understood that people of different geographical locations and region have different tastes. The legal, enforcement and policy terms are discussed for the food quality and taste. GI of a food product is essential if there are some special characteristics in it. Food products are affected by the GI for its promotions but it may be affected from the consumer’s behavior and political circles of the country. Some of the issues are associated with consumers that GI influence them to purchase a faulty product or service (Chadwick, 2011). The political circles of a country have impact on the GI of a food product because of the taxation and legal policies. With the change in domination of political party, the food products get influenced in its business.
It is considered that management should be taken care of GI for controlling the sales and brand perception of a food product. There is a significant difference on the quality management of food products by monitoring the impact of geographical locations. In private or retailing business, the food products are sold or purchased by following the legislative guidelines of constitutions, ministry of law, regulatory bodies and associate councils (Jones and Phillips, 2009). GI should be managed for the food products because it reflects the brand image and profitability of that. The consumers get affected from the specialty of some food products through its origin, so, the supply chain function should be well managed by the retailers or manufacturers.
In the supply chain of a food product, the origin of raw material or supplier’s functions should be well managed to control and monitor the quality and its distribution. It is important to trace the origin of food product because it may affect the market share and perception of consumers in their buying behavior (Partington, 2013). This report is including all the relevant legislation of GI for the food products along with the supply chain management.
1. LEGISLATIVE PROVISION OF GEOGRAPHIC INDICATION OF FOOD
Regulation (EC) No. 178/2008
In accordance with these guidelines, provision regarding free movement of safe and wholesome food which is an essential aspect of the internal market is described. This legislation provides contribution to the health and well-being of citizens along with their economic and social interests. As per the description of these guidelines, high level of protection of human life and health is required to be assured in the pursuant of policies which is being developed by the community. There are essential deviations regarding principles, concepts and procedures between food regulations which are provided by the Member States (Implementations of geographical indications at brand management of traditional foods in the European Union, 2010). When these measures are adopted by Member States regarding governance of food, these deviations may be impeding in the free movement of food. This situation will create unequal conditions of competition in the industry. In addition to this, there will be direct effect on the functioning of internal market. Objectives of these guidelines are to prevent such deviations and to regulate operations of those parties. For this purpose, statutory guidelines are provided by this legislation. For the management of quality, these guidelines are required to be implemented.
The Food and Safety Act 1990
The Food and Safety Act 1990 has certain provisions in order to avoid misleading content and issues relating to geographical indications. Certain relevant articles and provisions of this act are explained here under:
- According to the section 14 of this act, it is an offence for any person who sells any type of food product to the purchaser’s prejudice that is not of the nature and quality which is demanded by them.
- According to section 15 (Article 14 Food Safety (NI) Order 1991), it is a crime for anyone who gives or demonstrates (display) label with any type of food which is offered or exposed for the sale or for having possession or publishing for advertisement purpose that wrongly describes the food product. Additionally, it is likely to mislead the nature, substance or quality of food product (Hutchin, n.d.).
- It is a crime to sell, offer for selling and exposing for sale or having in their possession for sale any food item’s presentation, whether attached to or not, or printed on the wrapper or any food container, mislead as to its nature, substance or quality (Section 15), (Article 14 Food Safety (NI) Order 1991).
However, it is important to note here that the term nature, quality and substance are not described and defined in Food and Safety Act 1990. Nonetheless, it is also considered that the origin of food could be relevant for its nature, substance or quality in certain circumstances. In this regard, it is also noticeable that the provisions of “The Food and Safety Act” relating to issues of geographical indications are applicable throughout the chain of supply.
Regulation (EC) No. 1169/2011
This law applies to food business operators at all stages of the food chain, these activities are highly related to the provision of food information to consumers. It is concerned with information applicable on the product packaging and online store are linked to the food and beverages sell in the EU (The pros and cons of Six Sigma: Featured Article, n.d.). This main objective of this is to make advanced and standardized food labeling and provide best clearness to the customers on ingredients, nutrition. As per the food and beverages manufactures has to update their packaging to cope up with this new law. The online retailer ensures that the information that they provide should match to the laws and should be relevant to the product information that is present on its physical packaging. It ensures that the information of product must be available both physically and also on online as well as the information must be same and relevant to the product. It has a great impact on its manufacturer and retailer that can be seen by displaying this list of required information and details on how the information should be displayed.
The European Protected Food Names Scheme
EU regulation No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers is a new European Union directive that has maximum affects both manufacturers as well as retailers. It is one of the provisions that have been applied to all food business operators during every stages of the food chain. Along with this, the provision of food information is also provided to consumers at the same time (Williams and Gaylord, 2009). As per the following provision, more importance is given to the display of information that is related to the product through the help of product packaging and by display of the details on online stores. This includes all the products of food and beverages segment that are generally sold in EU. The major objective behind this provision is to keep a check on all the labeling system followed in the food and beverages segment.
It helps to compare the standardization of food labeling with the actual labeling process so that consumers are provided with clear details about the ingredients, nutrition and allergens present in the product. The provision is a clear direction to the food and beverage manufacturers regarding new legislation which is related to the packaging (Nadelhaft, 2006). As per the following provision, retailers have become more conscious about the information that they provide on online stores (Pull, 2002). Along with this, the information should be identical to all the information that is provided by the manufacturers through their physical packaging. As per the new amendments that are made in the following provision, information needs to be same whenever they are supplied from one link to the other among supply chain.
2. MANAGEMENT OF GEOGRAPHIC INDICATION ON FOOD PRODUCTS
Implication on private sector
The food is considered as high quality requirement products. Private sectors are the larger organizers of food and retailing products (Heine and Kerber, 2002). In context to manage the geographic indicators of food products, it is required to monitor and control the functional departments of business organizations. Private organizations are more focused on the quality check of food products. It is considered that people are finding more competitors for the food products and services.
Geographic indicators are generally managed by the purchase departments of a business organization. There are significant role of business practices which monitors the quality of supplier’s products and details of GI. Private sector food firms are having supplier management systems which include the evaluation and monitoring of the products supplied for production. Original raw material or products are identified through some set parameters of quality which are like quality, standard GI code, legislative principles, supplier’s records for performance and business functions which are associated to audit.
Private sector is influenced with standards of food business industry. It is considered that selection control systems are managed in business organization to keep track of actual product which is ordered by the customers. Manufacturers are monitoring the legal standards and policies for exporting or importing the food products. They have technology enabled resources which makes the efficient operations management of GI (Salleh, Kasolang and Jaafar, 2012). Quality control department of private organizations are providing focus to accomplish industrial responsibility in managing the geographic indicators. Generally, the private sector business firms are managing GI through proper evaluation of food product with comparing and evaluating them against quality parameters. Private sector businesses are registering and having copyrights of the quality of product and standards of purchasing products from the suppliers. The registration provides strength to the manufacturer for managing GI. Private sector firms are having guiding principles for their employees who checks and accepts the products from its suppliers before storing them to the warehouses (Allen and Brady, 1997). The original GI codes are cross checked before billing to computer systems by the warehouse in charge. For detecting the false trader, there are some practices which reflect the business operations of GI management. Private firms have strategy for product management which affects the perceptions of customers and behavior of regulatory authorities.
Implication on enforcement authorities
It is considered that implication of government authorities has major role in monitoring the quality and supply functions of food producers. There are number of business operations which associate the supplier control procedures and GI management (Williams and Uysal, 2003). The food products are required for monitoring and quality check before supplying to the target customers. The government and its associated committees are responsible to audit the practices which control the GI management (Adams, 2010). The geographic locations of food products are evaluated for the export and import into a food processing firm. They create and manage the business policies for quality food productions and safety of food products which are supplied to customers.
The government and legal bodies are making and regulating practices which include the taxation policy, stakeholder’s policy, food safety norms and content protection from thefts. It is observed that law of business industries are abide by the enforcement of parliament, justice court and associated assemblies (Jones and Phillips, 2009). The representatives from these government authorities are regular in touch with food processors to monitor and control the GI verification and investigation of supplier food products.
3. SUPPLIER CONTROL PROCEDURE IN SUPPLY CHAIN
In order to identify and trace the origin of food products, it is considered that the suppliers of raw materials or the basis ingredients should be well controlled through a procedure. The verification of food products includes the geographic location and other details of supplier’s functions (Hall and et.al., 2008). Every food product which has some special GI is identified through a special symbol, descriptions or the tracing codes. Generally, the suppliers have some special codes of identifying the food products for its originality evaluation for the manufacturer. Some of the suppliers use unique identity like Radio Frequency id or trademarks or patents for their products to be detected special among the similar products (Hall, James, Raffo and Anderton, 2008). If there is large number of suppliers of similar product then it is complex to identify the GI of demanded product so producer’s uses control mechanism for verification of original products.
Current supplier control system for the food products
In the present scenario, there are advanced technologies and methods for supplier’s management in order to verify the GI of product origin (Partington, 2013). It is observed that manufacturing organizations are having storage spaces as warehouses to keep the food products. There are number of business operations which are performed by the supplier’s management. The mode of transportation like trucks and cargo are technology enabled and they are manually considering the details of origin of food product. Suppliers and manufacturer has a relation to manage the business operations of controlling the distribution channels. Tracking systems and manual verification of the origin symbol or unique code makes verification of products from the original location. The regular suppliers of food processors are preferred for supply the product with their verified identity of location (Whincup, 2008). In case of new suppliers, they are involved in the supply chain functions; and there are some standards which are utilized for comparing the quality of products. Technical equipment like sensor, GPS and bar code readers are used to trace the investigation of supplier’s origin of food products. The manual system includes physical verification of GI in food products either at warehouses or manufacturing plants. It is a controlled system with the triple layer verification on distributor end, manufacturer end or the supplier’s end.
Barriers in current supplier control procedure
There are some food safety standards and Acts which has defined some properties or policies of performing supply chain function in a food processor organization. This system has some challenges and that are issues related to verification and tracing of product origin as GI. These barriers are discussed as follows:
- The supply chain practices affect the control system if the employees are not performing according to the standards. If guidelines are not followed then physical verification may fail to identify the original product (Treitel, 2002).
- The quality of food product is always a major issue while purchasing it from the suppliers. Quality parameters affect the verification and time consumption as well.
- There are some external factors like legislative of export and import policy which restricts the food product to be carried in or out from the supplier.
- The national food control system is affecting the verification and GI tracking supplier’s product in a business organization (Chadwick, 2011). If it is considered that all the legal acts and procedures are followed then supplier control procedure will be complex to be managed by the food processors.
- It is analyzed that routes of transportation and the technology has created complexity for supply chain in food processing firms. It has issues like origin identification while purchasing raw material in bulk quantity (McCollum, 2004).
- The mistakes from employees, non-skilled labour and the suppliers have created issues in verification and tracing of originality and geographic indicators of product. It includes the false presentation of GI by the supplier.
Recommendations for improvements
Above discussion has represented that supplier’s control procedures has some drawbacks which should be resolved for the betterment of GI verification and access in food processing firm. Here, some suggestions are cited which can be used by the food manufacturers in verifying the GI of its products.
- The quality of food product should be managed by the internal or external quality control teams (Gitlow, 2000). It is considered that quality circles should be mechanized for managing the supplier’s functions in food processors.
- It has understood that legislative rules and policies should be implemented by the business organizations. Suppliers should be evaluated and noticed at regular intervals for managing product identification (Nanda, 2005).
- Technology should be implemented adequately required to meet the standards of suppliers control system. Implementation of information technologies should be practiced in business organizations for verifying symbols and codes of products quality and origin details.
- If there are faulty suppliers with undue meaning then food supplier should find another supplier of the quality products (Tennant, 2001).
- Audit report should be recorded and documented for managing the future defects in supplier control function.
- Supply chain system should be digitized so the issues of delayed or misinterpretation can be controlled.
It is concluded in this report that geographical indication of products influences the quality of a product. It is observed that business organizations are concentrating in managing the GI of food products (Pande, Neuman and Cavanagh, 2003). There are several food safety laws which are understood for geographic indication’s verification of an offering. The buying behavior of consumers is affected from the quality and serviceability of food processors. The government authorities are protecting the rights of buyers and GI management of food organizations. The supplier’s controlling system is identified to be crucial for managing the GI management and for providing services of customer’s expectations. On whole, the role of enforcement authorities is significantly affecting the food quality management in food processing firms. The protection of human rights is considered as the prime role of enforcement authorities which includes the food safety and hygiene maintenance for purchased food.
- Adams, A., 2010. Law For Business Students. 6th ed. Pearson Education Ltd.
- Chadwick, A., 2011. The English Legal System. Straightforward co Ltd.Gitlow, S. H., 2000. Quality Management Systems: A Practical Guide. CRC Press.
- Hall, D. and et.al., 2008. Business Studies. Pearson Education.
- Jones, L. A. and Phillips, R. M., 2009. Disappearing Destinations: Climate Change and Future Challenges for Coastal Tourism. CABI.
- McCollum, R. W., 2004. Process Improvement in Quality Management Systems: A Case Study Analyzing Carnegie Mellon's Capability Maturity Model (CMM). Trafford Publishing.
- Nanda, V., 2005. Quality Management System Handbook for Product Development Companies. CRC Press.