FOOD fraud is not a new phenomenon, but goes back to the ancient Romans and Greeks, Mike Mitchell, technical director and corporate social responsibility director of Young’s Seafood, told fishing chiefs in Norway recently.
Drawing on history, he outlined how the Romans outlawed the adulteration of wine, and in England during the Middle Ages how people were pilloried for the adulteration of bread, meat and beer.
Speaking at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum in Bergen, he said that even before the horse meat scandal a couple of years ago, Young’s had identified a number of common types of seafood fraud in the global market place.
He said: ‘We called these ‘the Seven Sins of Seafood’, and by mapping these out, we were able to focus our due diligence programme and mitigate against them.
‘Our original Seven Sins were: species substitution; fishery substitution; IUU substitution; species adulteration; chain of custody abuse; catch method fraud; and undeclared product extension.’
In order to combat the diverse and complex sources of food crime in the modern era, he said Young’s recognised the need for a three-stage approach to risk management: identification; classification; and mitigation.
Criminal activity was adaptive and innovative, he said, and intended to elude detection. History teaches the world that food fraud is an ever present threat.
‘Food fraud may not be a new phenomenon, but it is an evolving one and our sector can only benefit from a joined up and collaborative approach to sharing intelligence and developing the new tools and the disciplines which are needed to combat it.’