The latest versions of the GFSI Food Safety Standards, such as the BRC Global Food Safety Standard require that a food business assesses the risks from the unintentional sale of foods that might not be quite what they seem!
Food Vulnerability – making sure you don’t become the next “Horse-Gate”!
The latest versions of the GFSI Food Safety Standards, such as the BRC Global Food Safety Standard require that a food business assesses the risks from the unintentional sale of foods that might not be quite what they seem! This is an issue that has received publicity and notoriety since the “Horse-gate” scandal. But in fact the criminal substitution of foods has been an issue since ancient times with sawdust being added to flour many centuries ago! MQM Consulting has developed a unique VACCP template and the means to act upon information concerning food fraud from a variety of internet and media based sources.
Our team will help you to produce an accurate risk assessment of economically motivated food substitution and help you to implement appropriate controls to mitigate the risk.
About the food vulnerability assessment
The prime reason for unscrupulous operators to substitute food items for other, most often cheaper items or ingredients is clear. It increases their profit! But this is a criminal act and the penalties for such operators who are caught are severe. There is naturally some concern within the industry that honest food operators might unknowingly be caught up in this web of deceit. The vulnerability assessment (VACCP) provides you with the means to identify the risks within your food chain and to put some controls in place.
The top 10 most commonly substituted foods are currently, according to a 2013 EU Report, based on academic studies, police records and industry consultations: OLIVE OIL, FISH, ORGANIC FOODS, MILK, GRAINS, HONEY, MAPLE SYRUP, COFFEE & TEA, SPICES, WINE AND CERTAIN FRUIT JUICES
The highest risk areas potentially leading to food fraud are:
- High value of food commodity
- Ease with which food can be altered or substituted
- Crop failures and issues including disease
- Depletion of animal stocks, for instance over fishing
- Long length of the supply chain (many agents and brokers are involved)
- Geographical origin of commodity
- Financial stress of supplier (high financial stress associated with greater temptation to commit fraud)
These are clearly the areas to assess and measure as part of the vulnerability assessment and the main areas to control.