Fighting $40bn food fraud to protect food supply

18 January 2016

  • PwC and SSAFE release tool for food companies to assess fraud vulnerabilities
  • Released ahead of the GFSI’s new global food safety requirements 
  • Food fraud is an estimated US$30 to $40 billion global problem 

PwC has joined forces with leading not-for-profit food safety agency SSAFE to develop a new industry tool to help fight food fraud and protect consumers.

SSAFE and PwC say the free tool – developed in partnership with Wageningen University, VU University Amsterdam and food industry leaders around the world – will help food companies assess their food fraud vulnerabilities. Food fraud is estimated to cost the global industry US$30 to $40 billion a year .

Andrew Wilson, PwC’s Head of Risk Assurance says: “While Australia has largely escaped a major food fraud scandal, we are not immune to the risk, with current food safety practices not always designed for fraud mitigation.

“It’s important Australian organisations understand their vulnerabilities to food fraud to help reduce any threats. Recent international incidents, such as horse meat being passed off as minced beef and the addition of melamine in dairy, has called attention to the need to strengthen the food industry’s ability to detect and combat fraud, particularly across global supply chains.

“Beyond the economic cost, food fraud can harm public health and damage consumer trust.

PwC's Food Trust lead in Australia, Clare Power says: “Food fraud is one of a broad spectrum of risks that food organisations should be proactively assessing across their supply chain and processing operations to help them maintain their market position and competitive advantage, as well as protect consumers.

“Managing and maintaining our global reputation for safe and high quality produce is critical for Australian food companies in both the domestic and export market. 

“Best practice companies are taking a proactive approach to food safety risks to make sure they have better control and visibility over their supply chains from farm to the supermarket shelf. They’re investing in technological solutions to improve traceability and recall management, focusing on food safety culture and going well beyond compliance to improve standards.”

SSAFE’s Executive Director Quincy Lissaur says: “As a non-profit organisation SSAFE believes protecting consumers is vital. By developing this free tool we hope to help strengthen companies’ internal controls while reducing opportunities to adulterate food for economic gain.”

PwC research has found almost one in three of all organisations are victimised by fraud .

“By clearly understanding the conditions and situations that provide fraudsters with opportunities, companies can target resources and actions to detect and prevent food fraud before affected products reach consumers,” says Mr Lissaur. “Collaborating with PwC, who has a strong tradition of helping companies manage risks and improve processes, greatly improves the proposition and reach of this tool.”

SSAFE and PwC’s food fraud vulnerability assessment tool comes ahead of new food safety requirements being introduced by the Consumer Goods Forum’s Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), expected in March.

SSAFE and PwC’s ‘Food Fraud Vulnerability Assessment’ is freely available online at Fight Food Fraud. It will be available for download on Apple’s App Store or on Google Play later this month.

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