“To such perfection of ingenuity has the system of counterfeiting and adulterating various commodities of life arrived in this country, that spurious articles are everywhere to be found in the market, made up so skilfully, as to elude the discrimination of the most experienced judges…”
Frederick Accum ‘A Treatise on Adulteration of Food and Culinary Poisons’ (1820)
During the early part of 2013, confidence in the food manufacturing industry across Europe was rocked by the discovery of widespread substitution of beef with horse meat. Major retailers and food brands across a number of different countries became implicated in an issue which has cast doubt on the effectiveness of current regulatory measures and accepted industry practices to guarantee food traceability and provenance. The implications for food manufacturing in the future are profound as industry seeks to close the loopholes that allowed this systematic abuse of specification, not just in the red meat industry but for all foodstuffs including seafood. In the light of ‘horsegate’ we must ask ourselves what are the lessons to be learned for our industry and what measures must seafood processors now consider to address traceability shortcomings, to re-build consumer trust and to prevent future food fraud of this scale in our own industry?
These new tools must be premised on business intelligence processes and a more forensic approach to auditing which draws from the traditions of forensic accountancy rather than from food technology. Furthermore, there must be an increased focus on the development of shared values and longer term, collaborative and trusting relationships between responsible businesses. This is where the new paradigm begins.
The Fair Seas Solution
Fair Seas Limited is able to bring a fresh approach to the detection of deliberate criminal fraud in the food industry. The Fair Seas Three Step Process applies new business intelligence methods to identify both the risks, and the mitigation strategies needed to protect businesses against acts of economically motivated food fraud in their upstream supply chains.