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Mutton

In the UK, the supply chain of mutton is a traditional system that links both the hill and lowland producers. In the UK, most livestock is fattened for sale outside the area where it is initially bred (Flynn & Thankappan 2012). What concerns lambs, they are moved from the uplands down to the lowlands where this fattening or ‘finishing’ is ultimately done. The continuity of the system depends on animal movements.

The first step in the lamb supply chain in the UK can be divided into five major stages: farming, logistics, manufacturers, retailers/food service and, finally, the customers. In the farm, the initial breeders often auction their lams to the ‘finishers’ who fatten the lambs. Alternatively, they may choose to sell the lambs directly to the next step of the supply chain, which is the abattoir. The abattoir is a part of the logistical infrastructure within the supply chain. The abattoir may then supply the slaughtered lambs to meat markets. However, it is still possible for the initial breeder to bypass the slaughterhouse and perform the slaughter themselves, supplying the meat to the meat markets directly.

The meat markets, in their turn, are directly linked to the manufacturers. At the manufacturing stage of the supply chain, meat is processed by cutting, boning, packing and storage. After the completion of this stage, the meat then moves to the next level of the supply chain, which is a retailer or food service.

The retailers are the penultimate step in the supply chain followed by the final consumers. Here, the lamb products could take three routes. For instance, manufacturers may supply meat to retailers or food service establishments through distributors. Alternatively, they may sell it directly to the retailers who, in their turn, sell the meat products to the consumer. The third alternative implies manufacturers selling the meat products to food service establishments who then pass it on to the consumers.

The scheme described above makes it clear that lamb products take a lengthy route from the farm to the consumer. Assuming that there are appropriate inspections at each of these stages aimed to ensure the integrity of the products, the best routes within the supply chain would be the longest because at each stage the customers should be able to verify the integrity of the products, which they receive.

Lamb products in the UK are mostly slaughtered and processed through the abattoirs, which would bear the largest burden of credibility should the meat products be found to be compromised.

Potatoes

Potatoes in the UK are mostly grown in Ireland. The supply chain starts from breeding. The breeders hand the products to seed producers, and then the supply chain moves to the agricultural growers.

From the farmers, potatoes could take three conventional routes. The farmers could sell the potatoes to merchants, who then deliver the products to packers, who in their turn hand the products over to processors (Flynn & Yakovleva 2012). Alternatively, the potato farmers could sell the product to packers, who then supply the processors with potatoes. Finally, the farmers could deal with the packing and then sell the products to the processors.

Processed potato could follow several different routes to the final consumer. However, if one concentrates on the route potatoes follow to the processors of lamb curry, then it would take one of three distinct routes. Processed potato could be delivered to the consumers directly through the food service operators. Alternatively, potatoes could get to the consumers through a slightly longer route where the processors sell the product to final manufacturers, who then sell the product to consumers through retailers such as convenience stores and groceries. Finally, the processors could use the conventional supply chain route of selling products to wholesalers, who then pass the product to retailers, who in their turn supply the final consumers of the product.

Potato supply chain may not be as complex as the lamb supply chain. However, the processors would have to treat their occupation responsibly because they are the ones accountable to the final consumers for the products they process.

Edible Oil (Palm Oil)

The UK does not produce palm oil. However, it imports either raw or finished products of palm oil. Thus, the producers of palm oil are outside the UK. Some of the largest suppliers of palm oil in the UK include the Netherlands, Indonesia and Malaysia. In cases when the product is imported raw, it goes through the processing within the UK.

The processors of palm oil in the UK split and fractionate it. After that it is applied additional processing to before it can be released into the market. The UK also imports palm oil kernels, which also need an additional processing stage before it can be split and fractionated. Thus, palm oil takes a very long route before it reaches the customer.

In addition to importing palm oil kernels and palm oil, the UK also imports a variety of finished products which contain palm oil, including margarine, bakery, chocolate, ice cream, peanut butter, soap base and soap. These, naturally, follow a shorter route to consumers compared to raw palm oil.

Palm oil used in the processing of mutton curry is imported, processed and sold through food service premises to the final consumers. The mapping of the use of palm oil in the UK is, first of all, conditioned by the fact that palm oil is imported. It implies that the supply chain could be very long because it involves both processors and manufacturers outside the UK who may take it through a very long chain. In this respect, one of the disputable elements of the supply chain of palm oil is its import. The officials responsible for imports and exports should be able to ascertain the quality and integrity of the palm oil which enters the UK.

Coconuts

Smallholders in the UK may chose to grow coconuts. Often, they sell their products to middlemen who then sell these coconuts to factories. On the factories, coconuts are processed to obtain dried coconut meat, coconut oil, and coconut husk and coconut water. It is from these manufacturing companies that coconuts, often through different routes, reach the consumers.

Farmers who grow coconuts in indigenous areas do not have enough money to buy fertilizers and provide proper maintenance, but the coconuts usually continue to grow even with little tending. When the products leave the farm, the processing factories take over. The latter sell their products to wholesalers who then supply retailers. Then, finally, the products usually get to the consumer.

However, the coconut that is used in the processing of lamb curry passes from the wholesaler to the food service premises. From these food service premises, the coconut is added as an ingredient of the lamb curry. Thus, it is important to note that the main party accountable for the integrity of the product all along the supply chain is the factory where the raw coconut is processed into the different finished products.

Onions

In the UK, commercial farmers who grow cauliflowers alongside this important crop grow onions. From the farm the product is marketed in a number of different ways. The marketing can be done either through a commission agent or wholesaler, or through a retailer or even directly through the main consumer. Most of the onions produced in the UK are disposed of through the commission agent or the wholesaler. A sizeable proportion is also sold directly to the ultimate consumer.

In the supply chain of onions, there are three general patterns to be followed. The pattern that is normally chosen is largely dependent on the location of the producer and the relative location of the consumer compared to the producer. The first of variant of this pattern implies transference from the producer to the commission agent or wholesaler, then to the retailer and, finally, to the consumer. Alternatively, the producer may decide to sell the products directly to the retailer who then sells them to the consumer. A third route is the one that links the producer and the consumer directly, without any interruptions of the wholesaler and retailer in between.

Thus, the producer is the most important part of the supply chain of the onions, which makes them the ones to blame should there arise any integrity issues about onions.

Groundnuts

Groundnuts in the UK are obtained from large scale farmers who apply a lot of conventional farming methods. They are harvested using mechanical harvesters and packaged after that. From the farm, groundnuts in the UK could take any of the following routes.

Large-scale type of farming applied for groundnuts does not allow the crop to be sold directly to consumers. Rather, the product is usually sold through merchants who buy it in large volumes.

The merchants who deal with groundnuts have the option of selling them either to food service companies who may garnish them as they wish or to food processing plants. Groundnut processors usually do not have a lot of options with nuts. They may roast, husk, salt and garnish the product and package it. The processing companies may also produce peanut oil or option to produce finished products such as peanut butter.

From the processors, peanuts are either sold to wholesalers, retailers, directly to customers or food service premises. Since most peanut processing firms are large, they often opt to sale to wholesalers. To a smaller extent, they sell the processed groundnuts to food service premises.

The groundnuts that are found in lamb curry are often obtained from suppliers who then sell the processed products to food service companies. In the case of lack of integrity or transparencies, the answerable party is mostly the food service company.

Groundnuts have been highlighted as one of the food products to be involved in food fraud when Indian food suppliers used almond instead of groundnuts without declaring it. This malpractice led to severe allergic conditions for some consumers, and there were even fatal outcomes for the others. Thus, this particular ingredient of processed foods is under much scrutiny.

Salt

Salt in the UK is obtained via import from countries that mine the product. The product is imported from such countries as the United States, Kenya and others. Salt is often already processed in those countries. Thus, the supply chain for salt in the UK is similar in many respects to the supply chain for palm oil.

Before salt is imported into the UK, it is processed in the producer countries. Among the processes involved in processing salt are purification and iodination. Purified and iodized salt is then exported to the UK, which has regulating bodies to ensure that the product received from these countries is not only fit for human consumption but also nutritious.

Salt may undergo further processing, which may involve its fortification with iodine in the case if it has not been iodized yet. After the processing, salt is packaged and sold through wholesalers to retailers, and finally to consumers.

Food service businesses as the ones involved in the processing of lamb curry are likely to buy salt directly from retailers instead of wholesalers. This is because the quantity of salt they may require may not be enough to warrant buying from wholesale stores.

In the case when salt is adulterated, two parties are likely to bear the heaviest brunt. The first one is represented by retailers, for not checking the products they sell. The second one is the importing authority if it is not ensuring that the salt that enters the country meets the established standards. However, it is also possible for the food manufacturing company to suffer the consequences of choosing the wrong salt type for its recipe. Therefore, along the salt supply chain, there are several parties that may be held accountable for any adulteration.

Spices

Lamb curry encompasses several spices, including coriander and cumin. In this report, supply chain of coriander and the way it finally becomes an ingredient of lamb curry will be analyzed.

Coriander is grown by a lot of smallholder farmers in the UK and some of it is imported from such places as India where it is indigenously cultivated. After the harvest, coriander goes through grading by the use of sieves. Broken and whole coriander is separated and obtains different prices in the market. Regional price differences for coriander are common because coriander produced in different regions is usually characterized by different tastes.

From the farm, coriander can either be sourced through local wholesale markets or directly from the farmers to intermediate merchants. Alternatively, corporations dealing with the processing of coriander can become another element in the purchase of coriander from the producers. However, to avoid unstable and unduly low prices, coriander is often sourced through coriander producer groups.

The supply chain for coriander is not usually intermediated by mills or large scale processing units. This is because whole coriander commands a greater market than the ground powder (John n.d.). However, for lamb curry, the coriander is often used in the powder form. As such, the supply chain of the coriander that becomes an ingredient of lamb curry usually passes through a processing plant where it is reduced to powder before being used.

From the processing plant, coriander is usually sold through wholesalers and then retailers to the final market – the consumer. However, coriander that is used for lamb curry follows a slightly different route to the consumer. From the processing plant, coriander is sourced by a food services company through a retailer store. It being a spice, it is not needed in such quantities that would require direct buying from wholesale shops. Rather, the amounts needed are sufficiently supplied by retail shops.

For coriander and other spices, there are two links along the supply chain where monitoring might need to be done. First, the corporations that buy coriander from farmers need to be monitored because of their potential to shortchange the other parties along the supply chains by selling cheaper products. Also, food service business, which ultimately prepares the lamb curry, would be liable for any damage caused by the use of an undeclared spice.

Discussion and Conclusion

Lamb curry, like many other processed foods, is made from a lot of different ingredients. This predisposes it to many fraudulent additions or subtractions. There is a public outcry over undeclared ingredients in processed foods which have the potential of causing damage to the ultimate consumers, and this leads to the need to monitor the supply chains of each of the ingredients of processed food. This would be helpful in declaring the fault of a party or parties involved in any sort of food adulteration which may be costly to life and productivity.

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