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Supply shortages increase risk of food fraud

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Choosing new suppliers when existing supply chains are disrupted brings risk of food fraud
Choosing new suppliers when existing supply chains are disrupted brings risk of food fraud

Related tags Fraud Supply chain

Supply chain shortages could increase the risk of food fraud as manufacturers hurriedly search for new suppliers to help meet customer demand, according to compliance and assurance consultancy LRQA.

In light of recent global events – most notably the recent Kakhovka dam burst in Ukraine flooding hundreds of thousands of hectares of land being used for agriculture – manufacturers will now be on the lookout for new supply partners to help pick of the slack.

However, in their rush to plug the gaps to help meet demand from customers, manufacturers need to be extra vigilant when choosing which suppliers to go with. The need to find replacements quickly is not a good reason to skip critical factory audits and supply chain assessments – particularly if new suppliers are not vetted to the appropriate standards.

‘Serious risk’ warnings

Kimberly Coffin, global technical director for Supply Chain Assurance at LRQA, said: “The current situation has been referred to as a worldwide food crisis, and the EU and UN have both issued ‘serious risk’ warnings.

“Because of this, we must be vigilant against all forms of food fraud, and we are urging all food producers to take the necessary safeguards to defend supply chain integrity and safeguard consumers.”

As the threat of food fraud continues to loom, businesses must ensure that international standards are maintained, and suppliers – inclusive of source and/or origin – have been verified. Supply chain integrity programmes from independent assurance specialists can help ensure product provenance, relevant certification and audits have been taken place. 

Demonstrating integrity

“Only when a food brand can demonstrate the integrity of their supply network can they be confident of the absence of unadulterated food and the subsequent mis-labelling risks,”​ Coffin added. “Adulterated, mis-labelled food may lead to regulatory sanctions and have serious implications for consumer safety.

“Considering that the food industry has already faced so many challenges in the past few years, some businesses could be devastated by a significant food fraud incident, such as the horse meat scandal in 2013. The food industry at every stage of supply must remain vigilant in the defence against food fraud.”

Meanwhile, with food recalls making headlines more often than not, Alison Friel, director of food consulting and training at NSF, takes a look at how you can safeguard against this growing threat.

Related topics Food Safety Supply Chain

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