Position paper on food fraud

Food fraud is of increasing concern to society including the food industry. As such the membership of FoodDrinkEurope considers it important to clarify its position on the issue. Food fraud is an unacceptable, criminal, activity and the food industry wishes to distance itself from any such activity. FoodDrinkEurope members are committed to supporting government efforts to fight against food fraud for the protection of consumers and robust food supply chains. In parallel, FoodDrinkEurope appeals to its members to continuously strengthen their food safety/quality management systems in order to mitigate the impact of food fraud.

Food industry position

Food fraud seriously erodes consumer trust in food, must not be tolerated and action is needed to address the risks associated with food fraud. Moreover, it should be noted that it is not only consumers that are victims of food fraud, but also food supply chains.

Therefore, FoodDrinkEurope calls on all stakeholders to address the issue jointly. We believe that concerted action from authorities and industry is important to protect consumers from food fraud and maintain trust in the European food industry.

FoodDrinkEurope members are strongly committed to ensuring the integrity of the food supply chains that they are part of, and to providing safe food to their consumers day-in-day-out.

The food industry relies on its food supply chains to ensure consumer choice, affordability, consistent product quality and continuity of supply.

In order to protect consumers and ensure the robustness of supply chains, companies must be alert to food fraud occurring, and actively work with customers and suppliers to identify and mitigate the associated risks.

In this context, FoodDrinkEurope calls on its members to ensure that their food safety/quality management systems encompass processes and systems designed to minimise the vulnerability to food fraud in their supply chains.

The membership of FoodDrinkEurope wishes to advise of the availability of various guidance documents and tools designed to assist companies in their food fraud vulnerability identification & assessment efforts, such as for instance those provided by the FDF[1] and SSAFE[2].

FoodDrinkEurope calls on its membership to adequately and decisively support governments in combatting food fraud.

Also, FoodDrinkEurope encourages the European Union and Member States to maintain and further develop, when and if necessary, a robust legislative framework with controls and other enforcement activities to effectively curb and punish food fraud. Those accountable for food fraud involving intentional deceptive and misleading practices with the aim of economic gain should be prosecuted. Food fraud compromising the safety of food products and damaging public health should be prosecuted under criminal law.

FoodDrinkEurope recommendations to its membership

Taking into consideration the particular needs of small and medium sized enterprises, FoodDrinkEurope recommends its members to consider the following building blocks for their food fraud mitigation procedures and action plans:

1.    Develop a food fraud risk management system incorporated within companies’ food safety / quality management systems

2.    Conduct Food Fraud Vulnerability Assessments: collect and evaluate internal and external information at appropriate points along the supply chain (including raw material, ingredients, products and packaging, supplier information) to identify vulnerabilities to food fraud.

3.    Develop Food Fraud Prevention Processes, along with practical guidance (for example, a food fraud prevention tool box including e.g. analytical tools);

i) Prioritising supply chains based on risk and conducting vulnerability assessments for these supply chains

ii) Designing a mitigation strategies and validating mitigation measures,

iii) Implementing and verifying mitigation measures, and

iv) Continuously reviewing the efficacy of the food fraud management systems.

FoodDrinkEurope encourages collaboration between governments and industry, driven by the belief that food fraud occurrence can thus be further reduced, most notably by:

a.    The rapid exchange of information related to food fraud (as long as convincing evidence of food fraud has been established)   

b.    Improved custom controls and border protection

FoodDrinkEurope encourages the authorities to adequately enforce the relevant legislation and to decisively prosecute food fraud. Better protection of businesses in the food supply chain will be an additional positive effect.

 

[1] FDF Food Authenticity guide (https://www.fdf.org.uk/food-authenticity.aspx)

[2] http://www.ssafe-food.org/ in excel format and www.pwc.com/foodfraud for the online version.

Documents:

Download the position (pdf - 215KB)