Food Fraud & Food Defense

Intentional risks and malicious acts do have a heavy impact on the agri-food industry. Chicken vaccinated with Fipronil in Europe is a striking example. Then how could we prevent such risks ? The management system, by means of Food Fraud and Food Defense seeks to prevent these ones.

For years, in order to guarantee food safety and high quality product, agri-food industry manufacturers have used and have evolved their Food Safety systems using a HACCP plan to protect products from accidental errors.

This system was indeed effective (it comes from NASA). However, it does not suit intentional risks. No process can guarantee that a product has not been subject to any criminal activity.

However, since the terrorist attacks and the horsemeat scandal of 2013, several specialists have worked on systems to prevent or at least reduce the risk of malicious acts.. Now integrated into the IFS and BRC Food Safety toolkit, these systems known as Food Fraud and Food Defense, have quickly become important elements of quality management system.

Food Fraud and Food Defense: How does it work?

Food Fraud and Food Defense prevent the product from a modification of its composition for economic purposes or for a simple desire to harm the consumer or the company. Their implementation is close to the HACCP’s:

  • The first step is to figure the system’s scope out of application, such as the type of product entering the process chain and the environment in which it operates..
  • Second, he company’s vulnerability needs to be assessed with the identification of its critical points and the application of a rating in order to highlight the most problematic ones. These critical points fall in two categories, motivations or opportunities. For example, as far as Food Fraud system of a biological supplier is concerned the high organic product price could be a motivation and the degree of corruption of a supplier country would be an opportunity. Indeed, it is motivating to sell a conventional product at the price of an organic product and corruption could ease the falsification of a biological certificate.
  • The third part is implementing measures aimed at reducing risks (emergency measures or monitoring and control) for high rating in order to control the risk of malicious acts. This is the most important. It is the company’s shield. Yet it’s directly fed by the vulnerability assessment, which is mainly based on the history of fraud and nonconformity in the corporate sector.

Inspire a new protection dynamic

Disastrous economic consequences could come out to brands confronted with media coverage from this kind of risk in the industry in general. Therefore, how a dynamic protection should be inspired ? According to me, ne of the keys to such a system performance lies in its maintenance and its supply.

And when it comes to centralizing data, services and information nothing works better than an integrated QHSE management system .Many services are involved: purchase, quality, logistics or production. All of them are exposed to the risks of fraud or product’s lack of security in the supply chain.

Digitizing the information system is a central issue, whether it be to gather information, to alert the relevant services for actions or to follow up via an action plan. A quickly profitable investment.