Risk Trends Impacting Agriculture and the Food Industry

Published on July 30, 2019 by SCREEN Intelligence Team

Within SCREEN, the BSI Intelligence Team continually monitors not only security, business continuity, and corporate social responsibility supply chain threats, but also risk trends impacting food. BSI Intelligence monitors food safety and food fraud issues globally alongside how security, business continuity, and corporate social responsibility threats threaten food supply chains. Recently in SCREEN, BSI has taken note of some emergent threats specific to agriculture and food supply chains that are also quite illustrative of why U.S. Customs and Border Protection added a new category of requirements surrounding agricultural security to the recent MSC revision. The new requirements necessitate container checks and inspection measures to more generally address the issue of agricultural and invasive species contamination. BSI has noted two major such issues currently impacting agricultural supply chains in Asia.

Ongoing from last year, China, the world’s largest producer of pork, continues to struggle with containing an outbreak of African swine fever, which has severely impacted the pork industry in China and, over the course of this year, has continued to impact other pork populations in Asia, including in Japan and Vietnam. The swine fever, although not harmful to humans, can cause significant economic losses by devastating the pig population. BSI previously reported that countries around the world are implementing stricter controls on pork imports from China. Japan recently expanded quarantine measures to contain the outbreak, increasing the number of quarantine officers stationed at airports and seaports and displaying posters throughout the country warning against attempts to bring foreign pork into Japan and the associated fines and possible jail sentences. As African swine fever was recently detected in Bulgaria and fears of its spread continue to persist, demand for pork and pork prices will fluctuate as more countries are likely to impose greater scrutiny to pork imports.

Also impacting agriculture in Asia, the presence of fall armyworm, an insect native to North and South America, is wreaking havoc on crops, particularly corn. The pest, since its detection in China in early January, infiltrated tens of thousands of hectares of farmland throughout China, endangering agriculture and grain production in the country. More recently, officials have detected the infestation in Taiwan, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Meanwhile, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has reached out to Indonesian officials regarding preventing the spread of the fall armyworm in the country. Exacerbating attempts to tackle the issues of fall armyworm and African swine fever are the ongoing natural disasters, particularly high levels of rainfall and flooding, which are destroying agriculture and disrupting both recovery and preventative responses in the region.

The ripple effects of these outbreaks will likely be felt within the agriculture and food industry throughout this year and into the next and highlights why U.S. Customs and Border Protection included several new provisions in the revised CTPAT Minimum Security Criteria. Alongside the new agricultural security requirements, in a previous blog post, BSI Intelligence described the need for effective business continuity planning in light of natural disasters and the incorporation of another new category of the revised MSC “Security Vision and Responsibility” can be leveraged to manage natural disaster exposure and resiliency within a supply chain. Similar to a natural disaster, such outbreaks related to livestock and agriculture require effective business continuity planning around sourcing and ensuring that infected material does not enter a supply chain.