Forensic accounting can predict future food fraud | 5/14/2018 | Staff
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Food fraud, where different or low-quality food is deliberately mislabelled and sold as high-quality goods, risks the health of consumers as well as the economic viability of producers and manufacturers. To combat this, researchers have figured out that analysing the past and present behaviour of criminal activity could predict what they might target in the future.

Five years ago, food scientists discovered cheap horsemeat was being sold as beef in different products in supermarkets across Europe. Since then, initiatives to fight food fraud have geared up, but when that happened, researchers and legislators discovered that the scandal of horsemeat in the food chain that rocked the food industry was only the tip of the iceberg.

Example - EU - Study - Honey - Fraud

For example, a recent EU study into honey fraud found that at least 14% of samples tested did not conform to 'purity benchmarks' – and that's just one commodity. Elsewhere, the EU Food Fraud Network received 353 reports of illegal mislabelling in 2017, up from 39 in 2016, which excluded cases reported to national authorities.

"Wherever there is potential for someone to make money, I expect food fraud to happen," said Dr. James Donarski, head of food authenticity at Fera Science, a UK agency developing scientific solutions across the agri-food supply chain.

EU - Laws - Food - Fraud - Dr

"The EU has some of the most stringent laws concerning food fraud, (but) I expect it occurs more than we think," added Dr. Donarski.

In cases of fraud, legitimate food producers lose money and consumers are ripped off. In response, researchers use an array of approaches, including forensic accounting, to discover where fraudsters may be operating and what they might target in the future.

Type - Warning - System - Incentive - Dr

This type of early warning system looks at where there is an economic incentive to deceive, according to Dr. Donarski, who is also the coordinator of FoodIntegrity, a research project developing food fraud solutions.

The project's...
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