Fighting $40bn food fraud to protect food supply

14 January 2016

  • SSAFE and PwC release tool for food companies to assess fraud vulnerabilities
  • Free online tool helps food companies fight fraud to protect consumers
  • Released ahead of the GFSI's new global food safety requirements
  • Food fraud is an estimated US$30 to $40 billion global problem

Fraudsters will find it harder to infiltrate supply chains and profit from food fraud with the release of a new industry tool designed to help fight fraud and protect consumers.

SSAFE and PwC say this free tool – developed by SSAFE in partnership with PwC, Wageningen University, VU University Amsterdam and food industry leaders around the world – will help food companies assess their food fraud vulnerabilities. Food fraud affects consumer confidence and is estimated to cost the global industry US$30 to $40 billion a year[1].

"Recent food fraud incidents have increased the need to strengthen the food industry's ability to detect and combat fraud across food supply chains," says SSAFE Executive Director Quincy Lissaur. "As a non-profit organisation SSAFE believes protecting consumers is vital. By developing this free tool we hope to help strengthen companies' internal controls while reducing opportunities to adulterate food for economic gain.

PwC research has found more than one in three of all organisations are victimised by fraud[2].

"By clearly understanding the conditions and situations that provide fraudsters with opportunities, companies can target resources and actions to detect and prevent food fraud before affected products reach consumers," says Mr Lissaur. "Collaborating with PwC, who has a strong tradition of helping companies manage risks and improve processes, greatly improves the proposition and reach of this tool."

Craig Armitage, PwC's Global Leader of Food Supply and Integrity Services, says current food safety practices are not always designed for fraud mitigation: "Beyond the economic cost, food fraud can harm public health and damage consumer trust. Food frauds, such as horse meat being passed off as minced beef or the addition of melamine in dairy, have increased the urgency with which the food industry is taking action."

SSAFE and PwC's food fraud vulnerability assessment tool comes ahead of new food safety requirements being introduced by the Consumer Goods Forum's Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), as well as several regulatory authorities around the world.

Mr Armitage adds, "The global food industry is calling time on fraud. With the use of our freely-available online tool it will put food companies in a stronger position to identify vulnerabilities and give consumers greater confidence in the safety of their food."

"Food may be about taste and nutrition for most of us, but for fraudsters it's always about using food as a pawn to make easy money. We hope to help food companies strike at the heart of this motivation so fraudsters are less willing and less able to profit from food fraud."

SSAFE and PwC's 'Food Fraud Vulnerability Assessment' is freely available now for all food companies to use online at www.pwc.com/foodfraud​ or download the Apple or Android apps.

[1] John Spink, Michigan State University, 2014.                

[2] PwC, Global Economic Crime Survey, 2014. Accessed at http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/services/advisory/consulting/forensics/economic-crime-survey.html

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