The Food & Beverage Industry is the fastest-moving industry in regards to changes. Consumer tastes, preferences, packaging, manufacturing, storage and transportation is constantly changing, challenging the industry. It has been years since the news of the horse-meat scandal first broke and rocked the industry. After Ireland’s The Food Safety Authority tested a range of frozen and ready meals from supermarkets and found horse DNA in over one-third of the beef samples, and pig in 85% of them. Very quickly, several retailers and manufacturers withdrew their products from shelves. As well as highlighting the complex nature of the supply chain in the food industry, the scandal made shined a light over food fraud. But what is food fraud?

Fraudulent products are common to many households – from cheese, honey, herbs to spices. Last year, the Italian press revealed large-scale criminal network that was selling fraudulent olive oil in Europe. Seven major producers were found to label their Extra Virgin Olive Oil even though the product contained significant amounts of lower quality oils – which did not meet EU labelling rules for extra virgin olive oil. 

The latest food fraud scandal involved Parmesan and the use of excess cellulose as an anticaking agent- wood pulpGrated parmesan companies Kraft Heinz Co. and SuperValu Inc. were accused of food fraud in 2016 and have not been able to end the multi-district litigation still. 30% to 70% of oregano products bought from a range of shops in the UK and Ireland and online retailers were found to be adulterated. The study found that 25% of 78 samples of dried oregano from 50 UK retailers “across the board” tested positive for non-oregano ingredients. 

There are several other food products commonly use for fraud such as fruit juices, grains, milk, fish, organic items and beverages such as alcohol. Just in the UK food fraud is estimated to cost the industry £11 billion per year.  Food fraud is an emerging risk given the complexity of global food supply chains. Food fraud is a major food safety issue, and an extreme example of this is fraudulent booze. Fake alcohol can contain chemical substitutes such as cleaning fluids and car screen wash and fuels, methanol and isopropanol – used in antifreeze.

But what can food and beverage manufacturers do to stop fraud affecting their supply chain? From Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions at CRI Group, we can help you! Learn more about our solutions and contact us today.