The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has released a position paper on mitigating the public health risk of food fraud, which outlines steps that food businesses should take to protect consumers from the consequences of food adulteration, counterfeiting and other illegal practices.
The position paper is based on work by a ‘Food Fraud Think Tank’ – supported by the GFSI Board – and its recommendations will be incorporated into the next full revision of the GFSI Guidance Document (Version 7), which is due in 2016. The Guidance Document is widely used by those food safety certification schemes that are recognised by the GFSI.
The GFSI Board is concerned that food fraud often has unexpected food safety implications, either as a result of negligence or ignorance, and cites the melamine crisis in China as an example. It has therefore decided that two new fraud mitigation steps should be incorporated into the revised Guidance Document.
The first is a requirement that food businesses should perform a food fraud vulnerability assessment, while the second stipulates that a control plan should be in place. As with HACCP plans, food safety auditors will review the documentation related to the fraud assessment and control plan during certification audits.
The position paper is released now as a statement of intent, designed to give businesses time to carry out food fraud assessments and devise controls in advance of the issue of the revised Guidance Document.
The paper can be found in full here.