Food Standards Scotland (FSS) recently launched its new Food Crime Risk Profiling Tool, an online program that allows companies to assess their vulnerabilities to food fraud. The tool allows businesses to assess their operations by answering a series of statements on topics like materials sourcing and supply methods, producing an individual report that highlights best practices and includes tailored guidance on improvement.

Specifically, businesses will be able to assess their processes and procedures accurately in four key areas: strategy, performance, organization, and culture. The statements within those categories will help guide the final report.

To support businesses through the process, FSS will be holding several free online workshops later in 2023 to help develop opportunities to increase authenticity and improve food crime resilience. Those who sign up to the Food Crime Risk Profiling Tool will receive an invite to the workshops.

In 2013 Europe witnessed one of its most infamous cases of food crime, known as the “Horse Meat Scandal,” when a large quantity of products were discovered to contain undeclared horse meat. Leading the UK’s independent review in the aftermath of the Horse Meat Scandal was Christopher Elliott, Ph.D., a professor of Food Safety and Microbiology at Queen's University Belfast and founder of the university's Institute for Global Food Security.

Along with the release of the new tool, Dr. Elliott stated that food fraud costs approximately 50 billion dollars globally on an annual basis, and added that if a deal looks too good to be true, the chances are it probably is.

“In terms of which sectors are most at risk, unfortunately the answer is every sector,” he said. “From primary agriculture through to retail and food service people will try to penetrate your business and cheat you.”