How food safety compliance protects against food fraud in the post pandemic world

Food fraud is high on the agenda in the industry at present and is the main theme of the Food Safety Briefing this week. How good is your food safety compliance?

“The disruption caused by the pandemic has resulted in the supply network being policed less vigorously and undergoing reduced scrutiny.  Many governments and inspection agencies are telling their auditors to stay home and observe social distancing, thereby creating a more favourable environment for food fraudsters to operate.”

Chair of the IFST Food Safety SIG and is a member of it’s Covid-19 Advisory Group. 

The pandemic has intensified the risk of fraudsters entering supply chains due to increased disruption, lack of human resource, scarcity of raw materials and transport issues.

Food fraud is a multi faceted risk and comes in many forms;

  • Theft
  • Adulteration 
  • Substitution 
  • Misrepresentation  
  • Counterfeiting
  • Document fraud 
  • Illegal processing

Identifying & managing risks in these areas is complex and time consuming but the impacts can be huge if not managed properly.

Now, more than ever, businesses must be diligent and ensure that their food safety risk assessment process is thorough and robust.

Food safety software solutions
How to prevent food fraud increases post pandemic

The impacts of food fraud in the supply chain.

Food fraud scandals cast a shadow over the food industry, reduce consumer trust and cause irreparable brand damage. This results in consumers buying from elsewhere. It can be extremely difficult for businesses to win this custom back – which ultimately affects their bottom line.

It is estimated that food fraud accounted for 5-25% of all globally reported food safety incidents according to a recent study. These incidents can be fatal. Imagine, if a supplier in your chain substituted an ingredient in their product range without your knowledge and the new ingredient was an allergen. This could cause an allergic reaction or worse, death. 

Food fraud scandals are not something new, we only have to look at the meat industry: Horsegate 2013 and the recent relabelling meat to see it is a continual issue.

So what can the industry do to prevent scandals reoccurring?

Does the industry have watertight, food safety risk assessments in place and monitor food safety compliance?

Is it time to look more carefully at your risks by using food safety management systems?

The post pandemic concerns over food fraud highlight yet again the need to look at a broader range of risks within your supply chain. This is especially true if some of the supply chain originates from countries known for fraud and corruption.

When reviewing Supplier/Specification information as part of your food safety management system, increased scrutiny is required to ensure food safety compliance.

Ask yourself…

  • Are they giving me enough information? 
  • What other foods or products could be affected by this?
  • Is the supplier providing vague information, or no information at all, claiming that it is confidential?
  • Are they claiming you do not buy enough to justify the time to provide the information?
  • Do they have something to hide, or do they simply not know where their product has come from? Both of which are equally as concerning!
  • Does it seem too good to be true? For example are their prices well below others in the region?
  • Is the country of origin risky due to previous scandals?
  • What is their trading history? Do they have a proven track record with good references or are they new to the industry?

Managing risks in your supply chain through a resilient food safety management system.

Increasing the number of quality checks and risk assessments your business performs and looking deeper into your supply chain, can begin to protect your business.

This can be time-consuming and complicated, but only through tight controls can businesses get ahead of the problem and stamp out food fraud.

Food safety standards such as BRC put businesses under a great level of scrutiny during their audits to ensure that the products produced and sold are safe and their origin accounted for.

BRC auditors also ensure plans are in place to detect and mitigate these risks within your business and ecourage the use of vulnerability assessments and horizon scanning across your entire supply chain.

So how can businesses carry out increased levels of QC checks, satisfying auditors and mitigating risk?

Eradicate food fraud in your supply chain through thorough risk assessments.

QADEX has developed a variety of solutions available to help you manage the setup and continual management of complex tasks including:- 

  • Supplier risk management through supply chain mapping
  • QA/QC checks
  • Vulnerability Assessments
  • Horizon Scanning 

Our Food Safety software solutions and Risk Assessment software help you:

  • Simplify these tasks through easy to use supplier and risk management tools & reporting.
  • Free up resources who no longer needs to waste time on laborious and complicated spreadsheets
  • Help with cost savings and drive improvements
  • Reduce the risk of something slipping through the net by having all relevant information and data on one platform rather than various spreadsheets and paper based systems.
  • Help identify, manage and mitigate existing and emerging risk areas by country, product type etc.

We are already helping major brands and manufacturers measure, manage and mitigate risk within their supply chains.