‘Safe haven’ for sharing food fraud intelligence

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Food fraud: the Food Industry Intelligence Network aims to combat crime
Food fraud: the Food Industry Intelligence Network aims to combat crime

Related tags: Supply chain, Food standards agency, Food

A food industry network set up to combat the threat of fraud in the supply chain is inviting food and drink manufacturers to join its membership base.

Created on the recommendation of the Elliot report into the horsemeat scandal, the Food Industry Intelligence Network (FIIN) is described as a “safe haven”​ to collect, collate, analyse and disseminate information and intelligence.

The network’s remit covers supply chain integrity and authenticity but doesn’t address industry programmes for food safety control and reporting.

Its 21 current members include manufacturers such as 2 Sisters Food Group, Greencore, Bakkavor and Premier Foods. Retailers represented include Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda and Morrisons.

Members submit data relating to finished products, raw material or ingredient testing – either as part of laboratory analysis or through supply chain traceability – into the FIIN via the legal host Eversheds.

Consolidated by Eversheds

That data is then consolidated by Eversheds, and a report of the results – which does not identify the source of the information – is issued back out to members.

Research company Campden BRI is responsible for both the membership process and generating the members’ report.

A second report is generated by Queen’s University Belfast, which provides an overview of supply chain integrity on a global basis and makes further recommendations to the membership on what testing and checks should be conducted.

The intelligence drawn from the reports allows FIIN members to adopt a more strategic approach to supply chain assurance, said Marks & Spencer director of food technology Paul Willgoss and Greencore group technical director Helen Sisson, who co-chair the FIIN board.

“We are delighted with the progress FIIN has made to date. It is generating real insight into supply chain authenticity and we are seeing a more targeted approach in key areas as a direct result of what the data is telling us,”​ they said.

‘Stronger intelligence and insight’ `

“We have had fantastic support from our founder members to get this network operational and we now look forward to expanding the network with new members and delivering stronger intelligence and insight to all stakeholders,”​ they added.

Professor Chris Elliott, author of the Elliot report and independent advisor to FIIN, said the network was already serving to protect its members and the UK consumer from food fraud.

“I give this initiative my full endorsement and hope that the network continues to grow and becomes an exemplar of good practice in the food industry.”

Throughout the development of FIIN, engagement has taken place with a number of industry bodies – but most notably the Food Standards Agency and its National Food Crime Unit, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, and Food Standards Scotland.

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