The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) today released a position paper on food fraud mitigation. Developed by the GFSI Guidance Document Working Group in conjunction with the GFSI Food Fraud Think Tank, the paper includes new requirements to be met by for food companies looking to combat food fraud.

The requirements specify that companies perform a food fraud vulnerability assessment and have a food fraud vulnerability control plan in place to eliminate vulnerabilities that are identified via the assessment.

A GFSI press release said that to ensure transparency, the organization plans to include these new requirements in the next full revision of the GFSI Guidance Document 7th Edition, which will be issued in early 2016. GFSI officials said the organization is committed to working closely with food safety management scheme owners and companies to ensure that risks to public health are appropriately managed and controlled until Guidance Document revision is completed.

Commenting on the release of the position paper, Cenk Gurol, who chairs the GFSI Board and is vice president, Food Safety Initiative, Aeon Co. Ltd. said: “Food fraud must be regarded as being a significant risk to human health, hence the involvement of the GFSI to facilitate with other industry bodies an agreed approach to mitigate this risk. GFSI regards the issue of food fraud as increasingly important and therefore has taken initial steps to include criteria for its mitigation within the future requirements of GFSI-recognized schemes.”

The Food Fraud Think Tank was convened in 2012 to advance progress on mitigating food fraud. The members included Eurofins, bringing insights into the changing needs in analytical testing as well as certification: Inscatech, bringing experience from the supply chain security area: and the Food Fraud Initiative at Michigan State University. The manufacturers' and retailers' perspectives were represented respectively by Danone, Walmart and Royal Ahold. Now that the Think Tank has submitted its recommendation to the GFSI board regarding how to put effective systems in place to protect consumers from harm,Think Tank activities have shifted to the GFSI Technical Working Groups to implement the recommendation.