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Manufacturers, Supply Chains and the Fight Against Food Fraud

April 20, 2016

By: Samantha Cooper, Manager, Food Safety and Quality Assurance

Wood pulp in shredded Parmesan cheese. Dried oregano bulked out with olive leaves. Melamine in baby formula and pet food. Asian catfish sold as grouper. Ground horse meat mixed with ground beef. Pomegranate juice cut with grape juice. Common honey sold as Manuka honey. Lead chromate used to color turmeric…unfortunately, instances such as these, commonly called economically motivated adulteration (EMA) are not uncommon.

Partnering with Battelle, the world’s largest independent R&D organization, GMA has developed a risk assessment tool to assist manufacturers in allocating their resources to areas within their supply chain that are the most vulnerable.  EMAlert™ brings together continuously updated commodity-attribute data combined with user input to produce quantitative vulnerability results, providing users the information necessary to effectively prioritize mitigation efforts associated with EMA threats.

EMA, sometimes called food fraud, or the act of defrauding buyers of food or ingredients for economic gain, has been an issue of concern for food manufacturers, retailers, and importers for some time now. Those individuals involved in the practice of EMA try to turn a profit through a variety of methods, including unapproved enhancements, dilution with a lesser-value ingredient, concealment of damage or contamination, mislabeling of a product or ingredient, substitution of a lesser-value ingredient or failing to disclose required product information.

Typically, the intent is economic, not to cause harm; however, there are cases where the fraudulent act has lead to illness or death.  In one well-known case in China melamine was added to infant formula to raise the measured level of protein content. Inadvertently, this adulteration sickened thousands of babies and resulted in several deaths.

FDA’s Preventive Controls for Human Food regulation, which goes into effect in September 2016, will now require manufacturers to consider food safety hazards that may be intentionally introduced for purposes of economic gain.  EMAlert provides manufacturers with an easy to use and effective resource to assist with the requirements of this regulation.

Economically motivated adulteration is indeed a serious issue for our industry, but rest assured manufacturers are employing the best practices and the latest technologies, such as EMAlert, to help ensure the continued integrity and safety of our global food supply chain

For more information about EMAlertTM and what it can do for you, contact us at info@emalert.org.

 

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