Food Fraud

Using Data to Prevent Food Fraud

By Maria Fontanazza
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Food Fraud

Identifying adulteration can be a difficult task, but there are tools available to help keep companies apprised of potential vulnerabilities.

FST: Are there niches within the food industry that will receive a greater benefit from using the database (i.e., companies that use a lot of imported spices in their products)?

Jeff Moore, USP
Jeff Moore, Ph.D., USP Food Program

Moore: Ultimately we designed the database to be valuable to all of food industry and food protection stakeholders. Organizations that are working with ingredients that are highly vulnerable will get a lot of value out of this. We also recognize that a lot of organizations don’t even know what their vulnerabilities are, and that’s the power of the tool—to look at the ingredients of interest to an organization and help them understand where there’s a pattern or history of adulteration. We often hear from people that they don’t realize what history the ingredients already have in terms of adulteration, and the database really helps to open their eyes.

Everstine: Any food company that produces food in the United States or wants to export food to the United States is subject to FSMA, so they will benefit from [the database]. Also if you look at the GSFI (Global Food Safety Initiative) benchmarks that are calling for more broad mitigation around food fraud—the database supports that as well.

FST: How does FFD 2.0 fit into the greater landscape of where the future of the food industry is headed?

Moore: Regulations are pushing industry to think about things more in a risk-based framework, and any decision you make in a risk-based framework has to be informed by data. We’re providing a good source of data related to food fraud to the database.

Everstine: It fits into the trend toward predictive tools, and the idea of big data and harnessing big data. When it comes to food fraud, looking at what we know has happened, capturing it and getting to the right information—that is the most vetted source of information about potential food fraud risks that we have right now.

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Maria Fontanazza, Food Safety Tech

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