Food and drink investigators from across the world have warned about the dangers of fake and substandard products, after thousands of tonnes of fraudulent items were seized in numerous countries, including the UK.
On home soil, the focus was on fake brand name vodka, as equipment used to make counterfeit vodka was raided in Derbyshire. Officers seized 20,000 empty bottles ready for filling, antifreeze containers used to make the counterfeit alcohol and used labels. Fake vodka can pose a serious health and safety threat to the public as it usually contains dangerous industrial chemicals.
Tracey Cranney, Operations Manager at food safety software company QADEX said, “Food fraud is inconvenient for the industry, but serious cases of criminal activity can be extremely dangerous for consumers. Counterfeit alcohol is a prime example – chemicals often found in fake spirits can cause serious illness and in some cases, death. Food and drink manufacturers need to tighten supplier controls and retailers need to work solely with trusted suppliers.”
Food fraudsters aren’t just targeted alcohol – An Interpol and Europol coordinated two month operation seized thousands of tonnes of illicit food including strawberries, eggs, mozzarella and dried fruit. Checks were carried out at airports, seaports, markets and industrial estates to uncover criminal activity in the industry. Worryingly, food fraud is affecting all types of food and drink products in all parts of the world.
Head of Interpol’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting Unit, Michael Ellis, said, “Fake and sub-standard food and drink pose a real threat to health and safety. People are at serious risk and in some cases dying because of the greed of criminals whose sole concern is to make money.”
QADEX has long been raising awareness of the food fraud problem and urging all food businesses to be vigilant against threats. With software designed by the company, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers and retailers can ensure tight controls are upheld at every stage of the food chain to squeeze out the poison of fraud. By using the software dashboard, businesses can effectively manage food safety risks, manage supplier approval and audit extended supply chains.