Kathryn Gilbertson

+44 (0)1733 887621 kgilbertson@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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Food Fraud

Food / 10 June 2020

Food fraud has not disappeared during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It has merely fallen off the front pages of the news.  

False ‘organic’ claims; meat substitution especially of lamb and fake olive oil continue to challenge the food industry.  With fewer checks and audits due to the pandemic, consumers are right to be suspicious of the bargain ‘Manuka’ honey or ‘wild’ salmon.  But it’s not just the final consumer who is being defrauded but also the food processor and manufacturer.

Kelsey Robson, PhD Researcher, at Queen’s University Belfast has just completed an analysis of reported food fraud in the beef supply chain over the last 20 years.  She found counterfeiting to be the most common type of food supply fraud.  The report –  “A 20 year analysis of reported food fraud in the global beef supply chain” can be accessed here.

The highlights include:

  • 413 fraud reports in the beef supply chain were identified between 1997 and 2017
  • Counterfeiting accounted for 42.9% of identified fraud
  • Primary processing is the most vulnerable area, accounting for 35.8% of reports

Counterfeiting includes products manufactured/ packed on unapproved premises; or without appropriate inspection or documentation; as well as products issued with fraudulent health certificates.

The report provides a fascinating insight into beef supply chain and builds on the work of Prof Chris Elliott who exposed the vulnerabilities in the European beef supply chain in his report following the horse meat scandal of 2013.

Food businesses need to be able to verify that their products are safe and have appropriate traceability

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