Global regulators continue to focus on food fraud, whether deliberate or accidental. The food industry has risen to the challenge by finding innovative new tools to monitor food and ingredients along the supply chain. Its next step should be to bring the same level of care to the laboratory, where food samples are tested for quality.
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Explore this issueJune/July 2018
Supply Chain Traceability to Mitigate Adulteration
Before discussing the laboratory, let’s look at the example of the supply chain where food manufacturers have been tremendously successful in using traceability to improve the safety of their products.
In the global food system, food supply chains have become complicated. The integrity of the supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so food manufacturers are identifying the places on the chain where adulteration is most likely—and then targeting them for special scrutiny.
There are two factors that make it more likely food will be adulterated. The ease of adulteration is one—foods like fruit, vegetables, and whole fish are much harder to adulterate than highly processed foods. A second motivation is financial gain. When crop failures or product shortages drive up food prices, sellers are more likely to substitute a substandard ingredient. That’s why the food industry has an adage about sourcing products, “If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.”