May 17, 2020

Disease in the Supply Chain

Foodborne Illness
Supply Chain
disease outbreak
Supply Ch
Freddie Pierce
3 min
Foodborne germs can lead to a variety of dangerous and sometimes lethal diseases
In recent years, blockbuster movies like “Contagion,” and “Outbreak,” have fascinated viewers, showcasing just how mind-bogglin...

In recent years, blockbuster movies like “Contagion,” and “Outbreak,” have fascinated viewers, showcasing just how mind-bogglingly fast a contagious disease can spread and how devastating a pandemic can become.

The black plague, malaria, the Spanish flu and the Bubonic plague are some of the most prominent diseases in history. The Bubonic plague alone killed 250 million people, which was one-third of the population in its time. These diseases are spread by touch, bodily fluids, sexually transmitted diseases, aerosol (respiratory), and by consumption. Diseases which are transferable by human touch and aerosol can spread lightning fast, often taking the lives of many or causing extreme illness before the cause, and let alone treatment, are even diagnosed. Those diseases spread by foods and animals do not have to be consumed to be contracted; simply touch can spread a virus or bacteria to a person.

According to the Center for Disease Control, foodborne disease outbreaks caused by imported food rose in 2009 and 2010. Nearly half of 39 outbreaks in the five years from 2005-2010 occurred in 2009 and 2010, according to the CDC, and half came from countries not previously associated with outbreaks. The increase in the spread of disease can be attributed to many factors, including the ease with which people can now travel, peoples’ desires to eat more unique foods from farther reaching locations, closer living proximity to others as the population booms, and even, according to Scientific American, climate change.

The Spanish Flu of 1918 was the first pandemic after the inception of modern transportation, which offered global coverage at the start of the 20th Century. Not only were contagious diseases and new germs carried from country to country by infected foods, animals, spices, and other products – they were carried by the people who traveled globally. By far the fastest mode of transportation to date, air travel means bacteria and viruses on fruit, spices, humans, animals and virtually everything else that can fit on a plane can travel around the world within a day. It is of vital importance that communication among the different systems in a supply chain – from procurement to manufacture to transportation to distribution to storefront –is utilized to share standards for disease prevention.

The CDC says 45 percent of food outbreaks come from foods imported from Asian countries. Seafood is the most likely culprit for foodborne illnesses – 17 of the 39 outbreaks in the five years to 2010 were fish-related. Pandemics and outbreaks are relatively rare considering the amount of food produced, shipped and eaten globally. However, outbreaks occur in everything from spinach to ice cream to clams.

“It’s too early to say if the recent numbers represent a trend, but CDC officials are analyzing information from 2011 and will continue to monitor for these outbreaks in the future,” said Dr. Hannah Gould, epidemiologist for the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases at the CDC. Foodborne diseases are caused by microorganisms, many of which are bacteria, according to the World Health Organization.

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Jun 16, 2021

EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs

3 min
Supply chains embroiled in Airbus-Boeing dispute will no longer be impacted by $11.5bn tariffs imposed on food and beverage, aircraft and tobacco

The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years. 

It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC. 

The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn. 

In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products. 

Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers  

  • The dispute began in 2004
  • Tariffs suspended for 5 years 
  • $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
  • $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date 
  • 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended

Both sides welcome end to tariffs 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.

“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.

Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”. 

The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."

This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.

Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”

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