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Risky Business: NSF Warns Food Manufacturers About Growing Risk of Food Fraud

Food fraud is of major concern due to the recent pandemic, inflation and global conflicts — causing serious threats to supply chains.

Supply chain disruptions to the food industry are nothing new. But add climate change, the recent pandemic, inflation and the geopolitical situations around the world, and the food sector is in the middle of a perfect storm that could cause more disruptions and food fraud than ever before.

The growing risk of food fraud brings innumerable economic, brand-damaging and ethical consequences, costing the global food industry an estimated $49 billion annually. And food fraud in the form of adulterated wares can potentially harm consumers’ health.

That’s why it is so crucial for food manufacturers to be hypervigilant.

According to NSF experts, the good news is that companies can reduce the risk of food fraud and product recalls by bolstering awareness, detection and prevention. They know firsthand because they work closely with individuals across the globe and all along the food chain, from growers and suppliers to retailers and consumers.

NSF offers four key tips for food fraud awareness, detection and prevention:

  • Insist on Standards

    Maintain food safety by holding new suppliers to the appropriate standards, being transparent with others in the supply chain as well as consumers, properly disclosing substitutions on product labels, and even making public announcements when necessary.
  • Have a Plan

    A plan is a critical step in upholding these standards. NSF consultants can train and support food manufacturers in developing solutions for food fraud awareness. This can help businesses:
    • Reduce the risk of product recalls and potential brand damage
    • Understand the potential risk of food fraud
    • Be aware of the types of food fraud and related crimes
    • Be alert to the signs of food fraud in a business and along the supply chain
  • Take Action

    NSF food supply consultants can assist businesses with:
    • Market intelligence, data gathering and utilizing analytical tools to investigate supply sources
    • Risk assessment of their supply chain
    • Supplier selection and creating performance metrics
    • Laboratory testing facilities
  • Be Transparent

    Businesses need increased supply chain transparency and to shop around carefully and be vigilant about all their ingredients. Speeding up the reformulation process does not necessarily lead to issues, but make sure to be aware of how changes can affect products.

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