Finding out about food fraud

Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Finding out about food fraud

Remember the horsemeat scandal and the melamine in baby formula crisis? Absolutely everyone answers yes. Food fraud sticks in consumers’ minds — the mainstream media headlines incidents and ensures reports of sickness and death are very widely known.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has estimated that a single food fraud incident results in an annual revenue reduction of 2–15%, depending on the company’s size. Likewise, GMA also estimates food fraud costs the global food industry $10 to 15 billion annually.

An ongoing problem for food manufacturers who are intent on making sure the ingredients they use are authentic is testing. For example, how many manufacturers using beef mince would have been testing to eliminate horsemeat from the meat they were buying?

Now manufacturers are aware of this type of fraud they will be testing to ensure their product doesn’t contain horsemeat — but will this be good enough?

Once the horsemeat scandal broke there were reports of camel and zebra meat being sold as beef as well. What to test for is a continual problem — first you have to know what types of fraud are being perpetrated, then you can test.

Decernis has announced the Food Fraud Resource Center at Food Safety Tech and a monthly commentary called Food Fraud Quick Bites by Dr Karen Everstine.

The Food Fraud Quick Bites provides a short commentary on recent food fraud incidents, published papers or approaches to evaluating food fraud risk. In the most recent post, she discussed the use of media sources for food fraud intelligence. There have always been unsubstantiated reports of food fraud that were subsequently discredited. For this reason, Decernis assigns a ‘weight of evidence’ classification for all incidents in the Food Fraud Database to provide our assessment of the strength of the evidence.

Decernis’s tools, knowledge systems and structured databases enable the management of risks related to safety, compliance, customer requirements and recalls. Users are provided fast and cost-effective risk assessments, knowledge and information allowing the introduction of safe, new products into global markets.

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