Importing Chocolates From Belgium: Business and Management Issues

Essay by dkennardUniversity, Master'sA+, May 2004

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Currently, we are selling chocolates through a chain of retail stores in the United States. We are considering carrying several lines of Belgian chocolates in addition to the products we currently sell. This report will attempt to identify the major business and management issues that will arise if the company decides to import chocolates from Belgium.

Major Business and Management Issues

There are major business and management issues that may arise if the company decides to import Belgian chocolates. The managerial issues here include the decision to make or buy, factors to consider when selecting overseas suppliers, quality control, and organizing the import department.

Several incidents involving salmonellae in chocolates have been reported over the years. According to "A Bulletin for the Australian Food Industry," May 2002 publication, the most well documented outbreak of Salmonella food poisoning associated with chocolate confirmed that international trade has the potential to introduce new or different food safety risks into the food supply of importing countries.

From mid-October 2001 to mid-January 2002 health authorities in Germany received 373 reports of Salmonella oranienburg infection. One hundred and fifty four of the reported cases were younger than 10 years of age.

Cases and controls differed with respect to having consumed chocolate in general, having shopped at a particular supermarket chain. Several other cases not included in the study reported having eaten a specific brand of chocolate distributed exclusively through the same supermarket chain. The investigation into how the chocolate became contaminated continued.

Destruction of Salmonella or other pathogens in chocolate once contaminated is a difficult if not impossible task owing the low water activity of the product. Heat treatments, including dry roasting of cocoa beans and conching of chocolate, do not equal the effectiveness of bacteriological control of raw materials and stringent plant sanitation. A number...