The Risk (or Safety) Chain

You know the “value chain” where each market participant adds some value to a product from the time it starts out as raw materials until it becomes a finished product sold to a customer.

It’s time we added a similar notion called the “risk chain”, or to be positive the “safety chain”. Each organization in the chain would take responsibility for the safety of its output. So the farmer takes responsibility for crops he sells to the wholesaler, the wholesaler for the packaged food that he sells to the grocery store or restaurant, and then they take responsibility for what we buy and eat.

Does this mean testing at every step? Maybe. It certainly means that each link in the chain looks backward to the quality of their inputs and forward to the welfare of the end consumer. Not just for food … for health care, electronic gear, for all products and services that carry risks as well as benefits.

We may have the fleeting thought, “shouldn’t government be doing this?” Yes, and all lawmakers and regulators can reasonably do is hold the participants accountable for their parts.

So as the world shrinks and the value chain stretches around it,  a safety chain needs to go with it to protect the consumers far from their many suppliers.


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