COVID-19 Pandemic Could Lead To Food Fraud As Vigilance Levels Drop
The COVID-19 pandemic could lead to food fraud on the same level as the 2013 horse meat scandal, or worse, due to falling vigilance levels across the global food and beverage industry, an industry expert has warned.
According to Kimberly Carey Coffin, global technical director – supply chain assurance at Lloyd’s Register, there are growing concerns that the current pressures on the supply chain has allowed food quality standards to drop, in turn paving the way for potential bad actors to get involved.
New suppliers have also been emerging, who might not have been vetted to the same level as established suppliers which may be unable to meet demand.
“During this uncertain time, we must be vigilant to food fraud of all kinds because now more than ever the industry is at risk," Coffin said.
"With consumer trust and product safety more important than ever, we urge business to ensure they continue taking the correct precautions to maintain supply chain integrity.”
According to Lloyd's Register, when supply and manufacturing of food and beverages are not able to be policed so vigilantly, food fraud can be committed more readily – in fact, logistics and manufacturing shortfalls could now mean that instances of food fraud are committed just to keep up with demand.
Suppliers are encouraged to seek out supply chain integrity programmes from independent assurance specialists, ensuring that product provenance, relevant certification and audits have been taken place.
“Now more than ever, organisations’ reputations are in the firing line, and a food fraud scandal could be catastrophic to an already-stretched industry," Coffin added. "Staying vigilant and making use of support with verification and certification can go some way to avoiding this.”
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