from Liz Paterson, director, Bodycote Law Laboratories

Sir; The supply of spices is extremely complex, with processing taking place all over the world, often with many different agents and distributors involved. The recent scare with Sudan 1 highlighted the depth of consumer concern about potential contamination.
I was therefore dismayed by your recent coverage on Tesco’s initiative to ensure that all spice companies supplying them and the producers of their own label products are assessed by Bodycote LawLabs under its Valid-IT programme (The Grocer, June 4, 2005, p4).
Considering The Grocer’s position as the industry’s leading publication, your failure to offer a more balanced view of what is a responsible move to combat the potential for food contamination within the industry, was disappointing.
It is the responsibility of the food industry to take a minimum of ‘one step back, one step forward’ approach to traceability, but some retailers are taking further steps to ensure that the supply chain is traceable right back to source. Valid-IT from Bodycote LawLabs was developed as a tool to allow retailers to champion the importance of traceability, not just for their customers, but for the welfare of their business and the companies supplying them.
Surely it is an opportunity for the industry to have a single source of validated information and to reduce costs by cutting any duplication of effort when it comes to supplier assessment? Any efforts to deter scares such as Sudan 1 must be applauded by the industry.