Quality Management - A dozen hints helping to minimize food fraud

eFOOD-Lab_International_01_2016

A dozen hints helping to minimize food fraud Scandals in the food industry erode consumer confidence Author: Prof. Dr. Michael Bockisch, DNV GL, dialog@dnvgl.com "Scandals" in the food industry erode consumer confidence – irrespective of whether they are real scandals or purportedly. They do not only damage those directly involved, but the whole food sector. Enhanced perception and awareness of the public are driven by the media and the NGOs. This brings about that single cases of food fraud and adulteration sit deeply in consumers' minds. Modern analytics significantly support consumer protection. When wrongly judged and abusively interpreted, these results can support the above mentioned impression. This is also true for the discrimination of certain threshold values by pressure groups. Changes in consumers' preferences lead to new and novel demands, which are even more difficult to satisfy once they are contradictory to other expectations many consumers have. 10 1/2016 eFOOD-Lab international By no means, this can be used as an excuse for misbehaviour or wrongdoing and it goes without saying that food fraud at any time and in any form – with or without public awareness – is absolutely unacceptable. Also without the above mentioned changes in consumer preferences these are still fraud cases and they have been and they still are liable to strict legal prosecution. In the past, food adulteration has been disclosed less often than today, now most of them are fully public. In a changing environment, the results of penal consequences are often much less severe than the economic damage which at the worst can lead to threatening company existence. These changes need action. Some of the above mentioned consumers' new preferences for instance are sustainability, Bio, freedom from GMOs, regionality, equal status of food and animal feed, authenticity, as well as presence or absence of certain components. These open up new "opportunities" for fraud – as well as for failure – thus increasing risk in the supply chain. This means that this chain needs to be looked at in a different manner and it has to be managed differently compared to the past. At the end of the day, it is irrelevant for companies whether fraud has been done intentionally – as a crime – or whether they were committed negligently or carelessly accepted. Even when the accused has been cheated himself, this does not help much with the consequences. Always, inadequate care will be supposed and often this will also be verified. Recently, in some countries and for some cases there is a reversal of the burden of proof. Now, there Qualit y Management photo: colourbox.de


eFOOD-Lab_International_01_2016
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