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Keywords:

  • global supply chain;
  • supply management;
  • food safety;
  • emerging markets;
  • quality risk;
  • sourcing from China

The March 2007 pet food recall and a rapid progression of comparable incidents have exposed the real potential for food supply chain contamination and disruptions. When organizations source via multilayered supply chains with poor visibility they are particularly vulnerable. In this paper, we develop a conceptual framework called the “Six Ts” of supply chain quality management — traceability, transparency, testability, time, trust and training — which are relevant for any product but are especially critical to the preservation of public welfare through a safe food supply. We describe the globalization of food supply chains and present data on the trends of U.S. food import volumes, both in aggregate and specifically from China. We also highlight the inherent difficulties and risks posed by global food supply chains, using those originating in China as an example. Finally, we provide a research agenda and questions to be addressed regarding the application of the six Ts in global food supply chain management.