Food fraud started around the turn of the century when food production and supply industrialized. The Oliver Twist era brought us sawdust sold as hot dogs and other highly publicized scandals. Food fraud, the misrepresentation of a product through cheap substitutions of ingredients, was a way to stretch out a food’s primary ingredients while maximizing profits, at the expense of public health.
Since then, government agencies have responded by instituting regulations on the food and beverage industry. Nevertheless, fraudsters — from unreliable third-party suppliers to terrorists — are taking advantage of the increasingly globalized and decentralized supply chain to alter food in such a way that it is no longer what is advertised on the package.
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According to the US Food and Drug Administration, the number of adulterated food products that have crossed the inspection table, has tripled over the past 10 years. With the growing segmentation and complexity of the world’s food supply chain, more and more cases of food fraud are slipping under the radar. On top of it becoming harder to detect food fraud cases, in an effort to keep prices down, some food companies are turning to outsourcing to third-party suppliers who are tempted to substitute ingredients, sometimes at the cost of not only people’s safety, but to the detriment of the company’s brand.
From olive oil to horsemeat, consumers have time and time again unknowingly purchased and consumed adulterated food that has been contaminated with unknown ingredients that could pose a serious risk to their health. Once consumers are alerted to these cases in mainstream and social media, they start to lose trust in brands and established companies can start to lose customers. This is why food fraud not only harms consumers, but can also harm your reputation, which could mean immense losses for your company.
SpecPage has Product Lifecycle Management solutions that run the full gamut of the food and beverage supply chain, from raw material to the shelf. Our suite of cloud-based SaaS products plays a role in registering suppliers in a world-wide compliance database, to tracking ingredients every step of the way. Through comprehensive PLM, and data synchronization through a giant global compliance warehouse GDSN, we can help food and beverage companies map supply and product lines, safeguarding both the public and food and beverage companies from food fraud.