The rise of supply chain assurance
In the late 18th and 19th Centuries, as economies in Britain, Germany and the US started to industrialise, people streamed out of rural areas to seek work in factories and mills. In doing so, they created not only great cities, but also an entirely new phenomenon – consumers.
No longer able to grow their own food, city-dwellers become dependent on others to provide sustenance. Rudimentary supply chains emerged, connecting agricultural production with processing, packaging, preparation, vending and consumption. Unfortunately, for some there was one final step in the supply chain - the mortuary.
In 1820, German chemist Frederick Accum, published an incendiary essay called Death in a Pot! Accum, who was working in London at the time, scandalised citizens by revealing that flour frequently contained chalk, cheese was often laced with lead, and arsenic and chrome were commonly used as food colourings.
It was Accum who coined the term “food adulteration”. His solution was to provide consumers with a series of tests they could perform at home to check the wholesomeness of food products.
It wasn’t long before governments started to intervene. In 1842 the Laboratory of the Board of Excise was founded in the City of London to regulate the adulteration of tobacco which was prohibited under the Pure Tobacco Act. In 1875 the laboratory – the forerunner to LGC - was appointed ‘referee analyst’ under the new Sale of Food and Drugs Act.
This is the era of intelligent assurance – a performance-led philosophy that connects every touchpoint
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