Food Fraud – a definition.

The term  “Food fraud” is used to encompass the deliberate and intentional substitution, addition, tampering or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients, or food
packaging; or false or misleading statements made about a product, for economic gain. (Definition from here).

 Operation OPSON is a Europol INTERPOL joint operation targeting fake and substandard food and beverages. 

Food fraud is a criminal activity. The figures for Opson VIII  are staggering.

100 million Euros of food and drink seized

90 000 tonnes of suspicious organic products checked

33 million litres of drink seized.

16 000 tonnes of food seized.

Operation Opson – food fraud – a history

The first Operation Opson was in 2012. It involved 29 countries, lasted about a week and 135 tonnes of food and drink was seized. The latest Operation Opson was a truly global operation and lasted over 4 months. The figures above show how the scale has changed over the 8 operations.  

What can I do about this?

As a food or drink business, you can carry out due diligence on your supply chain. Create the approved supplier list, you have been meaning to do and only buy from the suppliers that you have approved.

Make this a living document that is kept up to date. Have emergency procedures for those times when you have to go elsewhere, but have the correct approvals too.

Use the approval procedure to build a relationship with your suppliers. Don’t buy just on price. A deal that sounds too good to be true, could be risking more than your profit on that product.  It could be risking your business. 

There is an overview of supply chain management here


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