It’s All About the Supply Chain

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I not too long ago attended two webinars that highlighted distinct views on two difficult features of meals fraud prevention. First, Chris Elliott from Queen’s College Belfast mentioned the present scenario with meat fraud. He cited his “prime three” fraud-prone meals as meat, olive oil and honey. Whereas we can’t decide the true scope of meals fraud globally, wanting on the knowledge we now have collected from the previous 10 years, meat can be in our “prime three.”

Commodities, food draud, DecernisHigh 10 Commodity Teams. Supply: Decernis Meals Fraud Database

Meat is liable to fraud in some ways, together with misrepresenting the animal species, fraudulent labeling of manufacturing practices (natural, kosher, halal, and so on.), using unapproved components, the addition of non-meat-based protein substances, and misrepresentation of geographic origin (amongst others).

Elliott mentioned a number of the causes that meat is liable to fraud, which included the truth that the trade is extremely aggressive, depends on low revenue margins, and the provision community could be complicated. Discussing particularly the horsemeat scandal in Europe just a few years in the past, he cited the “mess of subcontracts” concerned within the adulterated meat, which had been based mostly totally on worth. He completed his presentation by noting that sure features of meat authentication are nonetheless difficult from an analytical perspective, resembling guaranteeing nation of origin and verifying the claims about animal feed consumption.

The ultimate in a collection of meals fraud webinars sponsored by the IAFP Meals Fraud Skilled Improvement Group (PDG) centered on one other facet of meals fraud: E-commerce. One of many large challenges with meals fraud is the intentional nature of the crime, which may make anticipation of adulterants and fraud strategies troublesome.

GFSI has said “any plans and actions to mitigate, stop and even perceive the dangers related to meals fraud ought to think about a complete firm’s actions, together with some that will not be throughout the conventional meals security and even HACCP scope, making use of strategies nearer to felony investigation.” That is notably true for fraud involving mental property (IP) infringement, which provides one other layer of complexity to detection and prevention methods. We have now greater than 200 data documenting fraud involving “counterfeit” merchandise. Counterfeit merchandise are an issue each due to the IP infringement and since, typically, the precise contents of the product can’t be verified. Lots of the data we now have documented contain counterfeit vodka, whiskey, and wine, in addition to non-alcoholic mushy drinks.

As a part of the IAFP webinar, Axel Hein from ApiraSol mentioned their work utilizing international customs knowledge to detect counterfeit merchandise, so-called “fantasy logos,” and geographical indication infringements.

Global customs data, food fraudSlide used with permission from ApiraSol

Many international locations present public entry to customs knowledge which, when aggregated and mixed with different sources (resembling Alibaba transactions), permits mapping of provide chains and detection of surprising patterns that will point out fraud. In class, I spent many months digging via U.S. customs knowledge making an attempt to uncover patterns that may point out fraud, so I used to be very to see this being executed on a bigger scale.

Though every webinar was distinct in its focus, every highlighted the significance of provide chain management and monitoring in mitigating meals fraud danger. To paraphrase a degree made by Elliott, every arrow in a provide community is a possible vulnerability. The continued globalization of the meals provide requires new and revolutionary methods to cut back these provide chain vulnerabilities.

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