Susceptibility of QA Methods and Specifications. EMA perpetrators are often very familiar with industry standard QA methods and specifications. Therefore, it is important to consider how effectively the suite of methods and specifications that are incorporated into a QA program can characterize an ingredient and detect inauthentic ingredients.
Get Paid For Your Thoughts!
- Wiley (Food Quality & Safety’s publisher) is offering $200 to qualified food scientists who participate in research interviews about challenges facing the food industry.
Take the survey >
Audit Strategy. The rigorousness of the audit strategy and the inclusion of anti-fraud measures in audits are an important consideration when assessing the vulnerability of a food ingredient to EMA.
Testing Frequency. The frequency used to test raw materials entering a food processing facility is an important factor in EMA vulnerability. Evidence-based testing reduces EMA vulnerability by increasing confidence in the integrity of raw materials and helps to establish trust in suppliers.
Geopolitical Considerations. U.S.-based food companies and consumers are reliant upon the food safety and regulatory systems in other countries when importing food products. Therefore, it is recommended to include a consideration of the level of development of the food safety and regulatory system and other relevant factors such as system disruptions and corruption indices for the geographical source of the ingredient, as well as geographic locations through which it is transported.
Economic Anomalies. Since EMA is motivated by the potential for economic gain, monitoring of various forms of economic data may help provide insight into increased vulnerability to EMA in a particular food commodity or ingredient. This may be either macro-level or micro-level data, depending on what is accessible to the organization conducting the vulnerability assessment. One example is the sharp increase in global vanilla prices beginning in 2000, and corresponding evidence of vanilla fraud during the same time period.
The horse meat adulteration incident resulted in a 1 percent drop in sales for one U.K.-based grocery chain, followed by a 5 percent drop in shares. In addition to the cost to companies, EMA threatens the health of consumers, has negative effects on markets, and causes brand damage. Food companies that have a vested interest in protecting their brand will need to adopt proactive programs to address EMA that go beyond traditional food safety measures.
Dr. Everstine is a research associate at the National Center for Food Protection and Defense at the University of Minnesota where she manages multiple federally-funded EMA projects. Reach her at email@example.com. Dr. Moore is a senior scientific liaison at USP. He manages EMA projects and develops standards and reference materials for verifying the integrity of food ingredients published in USP’s Food Chemicals Codex. Reach him at JM@usp.org. Claudia Costabile, M.A. from USP is also a contributor to this article.
References Furnished Upon Request