Establishing the first all-inclusive solution kit to ensure food authenticity

Background

The ability to deliver safe, nutritious and authentic food to the world’s growing population is one of the most challenging goals for the supply chain due to a very complex network with multiple players involved. The potential for unintentional contamination of foods has increased considerably due to this complexity. Also, deliberate contamination driven by economic gain has become harder to detect and track. As a result, the vulnerability of products and the risks inherent to food authenticity and fraud greatly increased. The debate about authenticity of food has also impacted the consumer trust and attitude.

Food fraud and adulteration are estimated to cost the food industry globally €30 billion per year. The recent incidences are prompting major public health concerns and resulting in increasing calls on health service resources. Various initiatives have been started at global, regional or national level, and it is difficult to maintain a consolidated view and to find the best recommendation to fit the organisation’s needs.

Upcoming

The task force is already discussing potential future activities, such as:

  • A review and evaluation of the current methods for testing the authenticity of foods;
  • Determining the environmental and socio-economic drivers of food fraud and the factors that increase the risk of committing food adulteration above the critical threshold;
  • Reviewing and assessing the quality of data related to food fraud in various existing databases and their fitness for prevention, risk management and mitigation purposes.

What’s New

This new task force is an excellent opportunity for collaboration, to enhance expertise and become a key driver in the mitigation of food fraud in a global framework.

Objectives

To date, there is no integrated approach endorsing analytical, regulatory, traceability, (vulnerability) risk assessment and management, defence, and other aspects. Such an approach needs to combine appropriate tools for vulnerability assessment, the use of available intelligence as well as analytical tools to ultimately minimise the risk of food fraud. Only then such integrated procedure can be applicable to the needs of both producers and authorities striving to coordinate efforts towards safe, nutritious and authentic food.

This new task force aims first to assess existing solutions with the goal to develop a guidance document for an integrated, holistic approach to increase the effectiveness of food fraud detection, prevent and minimise health hazards. The purpose is to first develop a guidance document including a solution-kit approach.

Expected Impact

The anticipated impact will be substantial for both public and private sectors. This new initiative should drive science forward and identify the best integrated practices to ensure safe, genuine products and prevent food fraud within the food chain. The project will significantly enhance the understanding of food fraud risks, their management and mitigation. By bringing together leading experts, we will be able to identify and bridge current scientific knowledge gaps and work towards integrating the different approaches into a single, easy-to-use toolbox for all stakeholders in the food industry. Having a consolidated view on the appropriate mitigation of food inauthenticity is of benefit not just for the food industry, it also provides a baseline for regulatory agencies and academics to understand what is viewed as current best practice.

For more detailed information, please contact Ms Nevena Hristozova at nhristozova@ilsieurope.be.

Task Force Members