With the complex global food supply chain, food fraud incidents are also increasingly being reported as one of the challenges of the food industry. Due to this, the food fraud program has also been listed and incorporated to be a part of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). In addition, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected the food supply chain in an unpredicted way. While we aren’t seeing any large disruptions to the supply chain yet, a food supply shortage will likely be happening soon.
The effects would be hard felt by many food manufacturers as consumers expect the food to feel and taste the same. The smaller cafes and restaurants may be able to get away, by changing their menu promptly and look for substitutes. The need for Research and Development scientists would soon be on the rise, to help with food reformulations.
Due to the large disruption of the food supply chain, manufacturers and distributors may be forced to source ingredients from unapproved suppliers, increasing the risk for food fraud, to meet their customer demand. Food quality assurance personnel may face an enormous need for supplier and ingredients approval, to ensure the food ingredients are safe and particularly free from food fraud.
Unfortunately, many of these food fraud cases were undetected as sampling and laboratory analysis are required for the identification of the specific suspected fraudulent materials.
Food fraud incidents can be reduced through proper development, management and implementation of food fraud programs. Your food fraud program should incorporate
- Identification of food fraud risks through the food supply and manufacturing chain
- Risk mitigation of identified food fraud risk
- Challenges to implementing food fraud risk mitigation
- At minimal, annual review of food fraud program (or as the risk for food fraud changes eg. low supply of ingredients, changes in suppliers).
As food ingredients are often sourced by Purchaser, it is important for the Purchaser to be properly trained to expect and alert risk for food fraud incidents.