30th September 2020

Rise of Food Fraud – are you eating what you paid for?

Food fraud is not a new phenomenon, the 2013 horse meat scandal threw the spotlight on the industry’s supply chain resulting in rigorous pan-European food testing.

However, this problem is not limited to meat contamination, in fact, food fraud is defined as any deliberate action to deceive customers for financial gain such as dilution, substitution, concealment, unapproved enhancement, counterfeit, mislabelling and forgery. According to the Food Safety Management, food fraud is the most significant risk to food safety and costs the food industry in the UK £11bn per year.

Global lockdown restrictions

New concerns have been raised about the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on food fraud internationally. As nearly 3 billion people around the global faced lockdown restrictions, food inspectors were unable to carry out necessary surveillance, regulatory and auditing activity. Similarly, as many ports of destination or origin were shut down, this is causing problems proving food provenance.

In today’s increasingly complicated and fragmented supply chains, there are a wide range of fraud drivers, enablers and vulnerabilities. Compounded by the epidemic and caterers under pressure to bridge supplier gaps to source goods where there are shortages – the risk of food fraud is rife.

Five top tips for stronger food quality management

1. Know your suppliers – do your diligence and check reputation, internal controls, processes, documentation, traceability and certifications

2. High risk ingredients – know which categories are associated with food fraud and double check / test incoming goods

3. Risk analysis – use the HACCP concept to recognise all critical points in your food production process

4. Accurate labelling – ensure that food content and composition is accurately labelled

5. And if prices are too good to be true…

The pace of change in food production is constantly changing as the industry tries to respond to economic pressures and changing consumer demands. Food fraud is on the rise and every touch point between farm and fork has a responsibility to ensure that rigor is present at every stage of the supply chain. For more information on how the Saffron Supplier Portal can help prevent food fraud click here. 


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