food fraud prevention (6)

1. National Food Crime Unit External Review 2022

In June 2018, the Food Standards Agency Board agreed to expand National Food Crime Unit's (NFCU) activities from having a strategic and tactical intelligence capability to a comprehensive response to criminal threats and vulnerabilities, including investigative capabilities. This review of the NFCU ran from June to October 2022. The Review centred on 22 key findings which relate to the themes below:

  • The evidenced capability of the Unit to handle intelligence and pursue crime reduction, supported by the professional expertise of its staff, the benefit derived from their existing professional networks within law enforcement and the deep commitment and effort of the Unit’s officers;
  • The impact of increasing strategic cohesion between NFCU and the rest of the FSA with regards to the food crime threat;
  • The practical challenges of complex fraud investigation, particularly given the absence of key powers, but also the importance of encouraging a more ‘lawfully audacious’ approach;
  • The critical contributions of the Unit’s capabilities around sensitive intelligence collection and financial investigation;
  • The importance of food-specific domain expertise in understanding and tackling the food crime threat, the external factors which may increase the risk of food crime and the risk that the threat is underestimated by many;
  • Areas of potential improvement to service delivery in terms of internal training, intelligence sharing, online investigation tradecraft and the consideration of offender management opportunities.
  • The importance of strengthening the Unit’s external influence, relationships and information sharing with the public and private sectors, at home and abroad.

 Read the review report.

2.  Food Fraud Prevention Strategy - A global perspective on testing, monitoring and verification

This paper, by Dr. John W Spink and reviewed by Selvarani Elahi MBE, provides insight into how the food authenticity-related concepts of testing, monitoring, and verification can be applied effectively within the overall framework of food fraud prevention.

Download the free white paper at:

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10232260060?profile=RESIZE_710xA new article has been published that assessed MedISys-FF system (publicly  available) for its suitable as an early warning tool for food fraud.

The study, we analyzed food fraud cases collected by MedISys-FF over a 6-year period (2015–2020) and showed global trends and developments in food fraud activities. In the period investigated, the system collected 4375 articles on food fraud incidents from 164 countries in 41 different languages.

Fraud with meat and meat products were most frequently reported (27.7%), followed by milk and milk products (10.5%), cereal and bakery products (8.3%), and fish and fish products (7.7%).

Most of the fraud was related to expiration date (58.3%) followed by tampering (22.2%) and mislabeling of country of origin (11.4%). Network analysis showed that the focus of the articles was on food products being frauded. The validity of MedISys-FF as an early warning system was demonstrated with COVID-19. The system has collected articles discussing potential food fraud risks due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The paper concludes that MedISys-FF is a very useful tool to detect early trends in food fraud and may be used by all actors in the food system to ensure safe, healthy, and authentic food.

Read the full article:

MedISys-FF (MEDISYS) can be accessed in the 'Tools' section of the Food Authenticity Network.

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safefood is an all-island body, set up under the British-Irish Agreement Act 1999.

safefood's role is to promote awareness and knowledge of food safety and nutrition on the island of Ireland. To do this safefood:

  • Provide healthy eating and food safety advice to the public
  • Carry out research into food safety
  • Promote scientific co-operation and links between laboratories
  • Provide independent assessment of the food supply
  • Carry out surveillance of diet-related disease.

safefood has produced a guide for food manufacturing businesses to help protect their businesses from food fraud.

The guide is open access and is available at Protect your business from food fraud | safefood

The Food Authenticity Network Team is delighted to note that the Food Authenticity Network is cited as one of the resources!

The safefood guide has also been placed in the 'Guidance tab' of the 'Tools and Guides section' of the Food Fraud Prevention part of this website.

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In order to address the issues of how to detect and mitigate against food fraud, Michigan State Universityand the Global Food Safety Center Mars, Beijing have considered  the need for a method to manage the information and activities around a food fraud strategy. In this research paper, four illustrative examples are considered including a response to: new public policy priorities, a new food fraud incident, and a review of a new countermeasure or control system. It concludes that current food fraud countermeasures are often focusing on tactical testing not strategic management. Food fraud strategy is more effective if the management system connects all activities with a focus on prevention not detection.

Read the abstract here


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The International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) has released its latest Scientific Information Bulletin (SIB), which addresses the evolving food industry focus on Food Fraud. The purpose of this IUFoST SIB is to provide an introduction to the issue, a review of incidents, the fundamentals of prevention and insights into the optimal role of food science and technology. The SIB was drafted by John Spink at Michigan State University.

News of the SIB, and a link to download it free is at: IUFOST SIB on food fraud

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