fraud (9)

2194260207?profile=RESIZE_710xA Dutch meat trader who was sentenced in France for his role in a 2013 scam that passed off horse meat as beef to food producers across Europe has been arrested by Spanish authorities.

The man, Johannes Fasen, was sentenced in April to two years in prison for his part in the 2013 horsemeat scandal, along with three of his partners in the plot to deceive a French company and consumers by selling 500 tonnes of cheap horse meat as beef.

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3211761143?profile=RESIZE_710xThirty-three countries*, INTERPOL, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) joined forces in the Europol-coordinated operation Viribus for a massive crackdown on the trafficking of doping materials and counterfeit medicines. The operation, led by the Italian NAS Carabinieri and co-led by the Financial Unit of the Hellenic Police (Ελληνική Αστυνομία), is the largest action of this kind ever.

Overall results during the entire operation:

  • 3.8 million illicit doping substances and counterfeit medicines seized (seizures included doping substances, dietary supplements, medicines and sport and food supplements);
  • 17 organised groups dismantled;
  • 9 underground labs disrupted;
  • 234 suspects arrested;
  • 839 judicial cases opened;
  • Almost 1 000 individuals reported for the production, commerce or use of doping substances. 

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Given the rise in international and e-commerce trade, and the lack of statistics about how much fraud takes place in this type of trade, the objective of this study by Italian researchers was to evaluate the authenticity of some Italian PDO cheese and meat products purchased on the internet. Real-Time PCR analysis revealed that 20/28 (71.4%) dairy PDO products and 24/52 (46.1%) PDO meat product samples involved species substitutions differing from their PDO specification. The study highlights the problems and risks faced by e-commerce consumers, and shows that better assurance is required to protect consumers purchasing food on the internet.

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Crowe Clark Whitehill has published a report about consumers expectations, food and drink businesses, and their approach to counter fraud.

The report highlights the divergence between common industry practice and consumer expectations.  For example, consumers expect that food and drink businesses to share information early and not wait until all the facts are known.

Consumers also expect businesses to share information about incidents that result in a financial loss, not just incidents that could cause a health risk. 

Consumers expect businesses to share detailed information with the Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit/National Food Crime Unit rather than combined and anonymised data.

The overarching message across the various findings is that consumers expect more transparency. Which is a reasonable expectation. The report is available here:

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An FDA Press Notice gives details of a new Regulation to prevent food adulteration and fraud. It obliges for the first time all companies (US and foreign) marketing food in the US to complete and maintain a written food defence plan that assesses their potential vulnerabilities to deliberate contamination or adulteration, where the intent is to cause wide-scale public health harm.

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RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags represent the fastest growing food and beverage anti-counterfeit products at 20.4% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) from 2015-2020, according to Allied Market Research (AMR), an Oregon, US based market Intelligence company. It predicts the anti-counterfeiting food packaging market is set to reach $62.5b globally by 2020, with holograms moving to the top spot in the authentication technology market.

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