Food Fraud

food-fraud

In recent years, the focus of food safety has turned to recognise the risk of fraud and how it can impact the industry’s global supply chain.

Be it misrepresentation of origin, lack of authenticity or issues of pressure on suppliers driving dishonest behaviour, fraud is a key influencer to food safety. It is now very clear that food adulteration risk includes fraud risks especially in the supply chain.

bags-of-food

Despite this, there is currently very little guidance available in the food sector as to how business’ can actively seek to prevent the risk of fraud. The key concerns for those acting to counter fraud are placed on brand protection, consumer concern and quality differential.

The global supply chains serving the food sector are susceptible to many different types of fraud:

  • Misrepresentation of ingredients e.g. olive oil watered down with soybean oil or honey diluted with sugar syrup so called ‘honey laundering’.
  • Misrepresentation of authenticity eg ‘Basmati’ rice that’s not Basmati or ‘handmade’, rather it’s machine-produced. This is about to get far more complex with the advent of bioengineered food.
  • Misrepresentation of labelling – either citing ingredients, such as expensive saffron or truffle, when their cheaper synthetic alternatives are being used or misrepresenting the proportion of ingredients (e.g. the percentage of cashew vs pine nuts in pesto for instance).
  • Switching best before dates.

Protecting your business

Sitting on the 2019 New Food Magazine’s Food Fraud Panel, Tenet’s founder, Arun Chauhan, discussed how businesses’ in the food industry can act to prevent fraud in the global supply chain.

Firstly, you need to ensure you have a plan in place which acts to safeguard your business against fraud risk. Understand where you’re most vulnerable by asking yourself, ‘what’s the worst impact fraud could have on your business?’ and develop a plan which actively seeks to prevent this from occurring. Assign team responsibilities, budget accordingly and review your processes regularly to keep them up to date and fit for purpose.

Once you have a plan, implement this throughout your business. Getting all of the right checks and balances in place throughout your systems is key to turning good intentions into consistent action across your organisation.

Lastly, and most importantly, get your company culture right. Instil a sense of ‘true north’ principles throughout your organisation. Engage them in the business so they put their heart into their role which will include them acting as your first line of defence.

There are myriad ways in which ‘corners can be cut’ to maintain the fine margins on which the food sector operates. Even seemingly minor, harmless savings can prove to be false economies when their far-reaching impacts undermine the long-term trustworthiness of your brand. Understanding how to react to those that compromise your organisation’s effort to guarantee a safe supply chain can be complex and will typically need external guidance.

Protecting your business from the risk of food fraud is a high stakes game as trust is much harder to win than it is to lose. Helping employees engage in and be part of your defence to fraud is key.

If you’re looking for specialist legal counsel from seasoned, fraud lawyers who will help you identify your risks of fraud, how to mitigate those risks and/or assist you in their investigation and recovery, then get in touch.

For more information on food fraud – including how you can best detect and prevent it, visit our blog or see our latest article in New Food Magazine (pages 48-52):

Read Full Article

View More Articles

Food Fraud – an evolving crime

Fraud investigation

View article

Food fraud – an evolving crime

The food landscape is everchanging. With the rise in veganism, heightened focus on allergens and higher demand for organic food products – both in the home and in restaurants – the food industry is having to take measures to keep pace.

Article

LexisNexis Awards

Fraud investigation

View article

Tenet shortlisted for Legal Services Innovation at LexisNexis Awards 2020

Tenet has been shortlisted for the prestigious LexisNexis Legal Awards in the category “Legal Services Innovation”. The awards will take place on 11th March 2020.
Article

Leadership and employee mental health

Fraud investigation

View article

The style of leadership within your company plays a pivotal role in forming its culture. It impacts your business environment, the drive of your team, and fundamentally, the sustainability of your organisation. Leaders who instil a positive environment and working culture will enjoy the benefits of a highly involved and driven team, with everyone pulling in the same direction for a central cause.
Article

We are here
to listen and help…

Call us at 0121 796 4020
Email us at info@tenetlaw.co.uk

Not ready,
to get in touch?

Find out what makes us different
from most law firm's... Read more

Tenet Compliance & Litigation Limited. Registered Office, 10th Floor, Lyndon House, 62 Hagley Road, Birmingham, B16 8PE. Registered in England and Wales. Registered No: 09776405. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. SRA Identification No. 626562.
Copyright © Tenet Law. All Rights Reserved.
Created by Gritt & Co