Food fraud is an issue in the UK, says NFU Mutual survey

By Nell Walker
NFU Mutual has released its Food Fraud Report 2017, which shows that consumers blame food fraud on the producers. According to the survey, takeaways ar...

NFU Mutual has released its Food Fraud Report 2017, which shows that consumers blame food fraud on the producers.

According to the survey, takeaways are unsurprisingly the least trusted type of food outlet (42%), followed by online food (21%) and corner shop food (16%).

72% of respondents think there is an issue with food fraud in Britain, with high-profile cases – like the horse meat scandal in 2013 – cited as reasons.

Duncan Moir, Product Manager for Epicor Software, UK and Ireland, offered the following expert comment:

“Consumer confidence has been harmed by food producers who deliberately try to mislead the public with ‘accurate but confusing’ labelling. Many of the terms on labels only mean something to food professionals and so it is almost impossible for a consumer to understand all the ingredients listed. It makes it very difficult for a consumer to make an informed choice of what to buy, and, even if they could, shopping would take much longer by the time they’d read every label in detail.

“For a consumer, the safest way to shop is to buy from known and trusted sources and stick to well-known brands. These food producers have a lot more to lose by being implicated in food fraud and so invest more in fraud prevention and detection.

“To regain consumer confidence, responsible food manufacturers must be vocal on the steps they are taking to prevent food fraud and show that they are prioritising end-to-end visibility across the supply chain. Food production firms need to have the capability to record data from every point in the supply chain–from the smallest raw ingredient, through to packaging.

“Having the right technology in place, such as an industry-specific enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, to trace every tiny element of a product and provide highly detailed audit trails will help food production firms pinpoint problems before they reach the public domain. Those food manufacturers who prioritise traceability will be the ones who successfully eradicate food fraud and rebuild consumer confidence.”


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