This article will briefly discuss:
- what a food fraud mitigation plan is;
- legal consequences of food fraud;
- some examples of food fraud acts;
- the difference between HACCP, TACCP, & VACCP; and
- tools that can help effectively implement VACCP in your business.
After conducting a food fraud vulnerability assessment, a good food fraud mitigation plan must be designed to address all factors identified during the evaluation. GFSI requires proper documentation of the food fraud mitigation plan which also varies depending on the type of business, as well as the products, risks, ingredients, and geographical occupancy. A food fraud mitigation plan should also address areas such as management processes, workplace culture and ethics, supplier management, and food distribution processes.
Food fraud is the deliberate “substitution, addition, tampering, or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients, or food packaging” for economic gain. While the consequences of food fraud may mostly go undetected by the human body, this does not nullify its harmful effects. Countless food fraud incidents over the last few decades proves how serious the threat it poses to public health. To prevent these incidents from recurring, food authorities globally have implemented various legal and certification requirements to hold food companies liable for the quality and safety of their products (e.g., FSMA, Regulation (EU) 2017/625). Non-compliance and violation of these food safety regulations and policies can lead to legal repercussions such as fines, suspensions, seize and detainment of shipments, and worse closure.
- Counterfeiting – substitution of ingredients and products with similar packaging or the mixing of inferior quality ingredients to increase the volume of products, e.g. counterfeit spices (saffron, oregano, pepper) being mixed with different materials
- Adulteration – adding ingredients like sugar or sweeteners to honey or maple syrup in order to produce a similar taste while adding volume or, in the case of baby formula, adding melamine to reach the desired “protein” count
- Dilution – olive oil mixed with other types of oil, wine with grape blends, and fruit juices diluted in water then mixed with other ingredients to produce a similar taste while increasing volume
- Mislabeling – examples are cases of horse meat mixed with beef but labeled and sold as beef, organic food being sold but found to have traces of “non-organic” ingredients, and mislabeled seafood being sold in the market
While there are control points among the three that overlap, the intention or goal is unique for each of them:
HACCP – stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point and its goal is to identify and mitigate hazards during food production and ensure that the product is safe for consumption
TACCP – stands for Threat Assessment Critical Control Point and it aims to protect food products from deliberate contamination with the intention to cause harm
VACCP – seeks to identify and control vulnerabilities in the food supply chain that can be susceptible to food fraud
Proactively finding fraud vulnerabilities in the supply chain by conducting food fraud vulnerability assessments and working to address issues in a timely manner is crucial to protect food and beverages from food fraud and ensure consumer safety. Effective implementation of VACCP, however, can be hindered by the dependence on paper-based auditing. Time wasted on gathering and reporting on findings can be better spent resolving vulnerabilities.
iAuditor, the world’s most powerful mobile auditing app, can help you effectively:
- Conduct paper-less food fraud vulnerability assessments;
- Immediately taking action to correct time-sensitive vulnerabilities in the supply chain; and
- Review measurable audit results on an online platform and conveniently track the progress of assigned tasks intended to address issues.
To save you time, we have digitized below VACCP and food fraud assessment templates to help you with conducting powerful food fraud vulnerability assessments. All iAuditor templates are customizable so you can better fit them to your business needs.
Top VACCP Templates
V-CCP Monitoring Template - Raw Material Test
This V-CCP monitoring template is used to assess if received raw materials pass material testing. Testing helps control vulnerability in food fraud caused by low-quality raw materials. Take photo of raw materials upon receipt and assign corrective measures in the event that they do not meet critical limits.
VACCP Supplier Audit Template
Use this VACCP supplier audit checklist to monitor the sourcing process in the supply chain. Keep track of ingredients/raw materials that come in and check for food fraud. Assign corrective measures and generate on-site reports.
Food Fraud Vulnerability Template - Initial Screening
This digitized template is used for conducting the initial assessment for food fraud vulnerability of a product, ingredient, or raw material. The QA Officer can use this digital form to proactively determine the likelihood of fraud and severity of consequences should food fraud happen. Use this as a guide to do the following:
- Conduct a simple and straightforward initial screening for food fraud vulnerability.
- Use scoring to measure the likelihood of fraud for the product, ingredient, or raw material. For this template, the lower the total score, the higher is the risk of food fraud vulnerability.
- Assign tasks for colleagues to work on based on findings during to the assessment.
- Use the online platform to review trends of assessments.
Use this VACCP Template to help assess the food fraud vulnerability of your ingredients or raw materials, product, production line, supplier/s, and nature of business. The QA Officer can use this and collaborate with other departments, stakeholders, vendors, etc., to identify points where fraud can be a risk. Use this checklist as guide for the following:
- Assess the possibility of adulteration, counterfeiting, etc.
- Determine which point in the supply chain can fraud be an incentive.
- Check control measures in place against food fraud vulnerabilities.
- You can easily edit iAuditor templates to better suit the needs of your business – no programming skills needed!