I cleaned my basement over the weekend. 25 years of household accumulation reviewed, replaced, recycled or removed. The remove pile went by the garage for the trash pick-up. The recycle pile is on the front porch awaiting pickup by a charitable reseller. If you came to Trick or Treat right now, you might be offered a used shovel rather than a candy bar.
Things have changed over the years. Trick or treat is during daylight hours in many communities for safety’s sake. Prepackaged food treats get x-ray scanned before the children (or parents) consume them. In business as well, the expectations and demands have changed. We now require vendor approvals including food safety audits and certificates of insurance prior to conducting business.
Remember that one old, creepy house that you visited on Halloween? It scared you and all of your friends, but you went there anyway. That is how vendors are these days. As I was reviewing the checks that I sign every week, I noticed how some names have dropped off the roll. If a particular vendor didn’t meet the approval guidelines, we have to pass on doing business with them. Some actively choose not to provide the insurance or the current audit report; others try but fail to meet the criteria.
Overall in the produce industry we have stepped up the level of awareness of food safety over the past several years. However, in a Grant Thornton report that I read recently, only 44% of the fruit and vegetable sector respondents could trace back to the grower. That could be a miserable trick if you don’t actively investigate your vendors and their processes.