By Peter Claise, The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP)
Food fraud, or Economically Motivated Adulteration (EMA), costs the food industry an estimated $10 to $15 billion annually. Fraudsters are intentionally misrepresenting the true identity or nutritional value of food ingredients, artificially enhancing them with illegal dyes, concealing the use of undeclared banned biocides, or palming off counterfeits while evading detection. But, you can fight food fraud with powerful proactive tools — many of them complementary — that can help you anticipate and reduce your company’s vulnerability to EMA.
Getting ahead of food fraud requires a preventive, risk-based control mindset regarding your entire supply chain. That means arming yourself with a food fraud mitigation system and control plan based on vulnerability and impact assessments. This is very different from typical food safety plans and quality assurance (QA) systems, which are not designed to fight food fraud. In fact, food fraudsters are usually aware of your QA system. They aim to adulterate products in ways that specifically avoid your QA system’s detection. That’s why simply looking at certificates of analysis or visually inspecting ingredients to see if they are the expected color, for example, may not detect fraud.