GFSI Position on Mitigating the Public Health Risk of Food Fraud

By Michael Biros
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New Food Fraud mitigation elements will be added to the next revision of the GFSI Guidance Document.

The GFSI board has decided to add two new key elements to the GFSI Guidance Document that address food fraud mitigation according to a recently published white paper. 

The additions to the Guidance Document will require a company to perform a food fraud vulnerability assessment and to have a control plan in place. The vision for the mitigation of food fraud to become an integral part of a company’s food safety management program. 

During a food safety certification audit, conducted against GFSI recognized schemes, the auditor will review the documentation related to the vulnerability assessment process and confirm that a comprehensive control plan has been developed and implemented by the company. 

Food fraud, including the subcategory of economically motivated adulteration, is not the same as food defense. Food defense protects against tampering with intent to harm whereas food fraud concerns the deception of consumers and includes substitution, unapproved enhancements, misbranding, counterfeiting, and stolen goods. The food safety risks associated with food fraud can be more dangerous and challenging to address than traditional food safety risks because the contaminants are unconventional. Some high profile food fraud incidents include the melamine tainted milk crisis, mislabeled recycled cooking oil, and knowingly shipping Salmonella contaminated peanuts. 

The new food fraud mitigation key elements will be included in the next revision of the GFSI Guidance Document (Version 7) to be released in 2016.

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