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How to Improve the Frontline of Defense Against Food Fraud

“Food fraud” is any act of misrepresenting, substituting, mislabeling, tampering with, or purposefully altering a food or beverage — whether it’s a raw ingredient or packaged product — throughout its lifecycle. In addition to being dangerous, food fraud costs food and beverage manufacturers an estimated $50 billion each year.

Meanwhile, “food defense” is any strategy, process, or other effort that manufacturers take to protect food through security measures that safeguard facilities, as well as data management that can prevent fraud from happening.

It’s critical for food and beverage manufacturers to recognize the dangers of food fraud and take necessary measures to improve their defenses. Let’s dive into why food fraud happens, and four strategies to protect products and the supply chain.

How to Improve Food Defense in 2023

Around the globe, food fraud is only increasing despite efforts to prevent it. Why is food fraud becoming more of an issue today? Some factors include:


Unlock the secrets of PLM and take control of your product development journey. Click now for our comprehensive ‘PLM for Manufacturers’ guide!


Unlock the secrets of PLM and take control of your product development journey. Click now for our comprehensive ‘PLM for Manufacturers’ guide!

The onus is on manufacturers to overcome these challenges and keep their food safe from tampering. Here are four opportunities to keep in mind:

1. Improve External Collaboration

A transparent, end-to-end supply chain doesn’t just streamline operations, it improves security. Companies must work together with their suppliers to forge trust and create accountability beyond what’s required by regulators.

Both manufacturers and retailers must catalog and index supplier registers, especially those producing the main recipe ingredients. Intelligent collaboration with stakeholders includes reviewing procurement contracts and ensuring that there are stringent regulations in place against misrepresenting ingredients.

2. Know Your Vendors

Every food and beverage product in the market is composed of numerous ingredients, handled by many vendors throughout their supply chain journey. Manufacturers must be careful to work with the most trustworthy and ethical suppliers to avoid passing along compromised food.

Investigate any potential vendors thoroughly to make sure they’re legitimate. Carefully review their processes and credentials to make sure they comply with regulations and have a clean reputation. If possible, leverage a third party for an audit. Most importantly, strengthen your relationships with the vendors you have.

3. Improve Traceability

Manufacturers must know the origin and journey of every single ingredient in their formulas. To do this, companies must collaborate with their suppliers and create systems for proving origin, quality, and inspection results, to create as much visibility and transparency as possible. In addition, companies should consistently audit their processes, accounting for the latest security threats, with a special focus on the highest-risk ingredients. Go above and beyond the requirements of regulators as well. Public safety depends on it.

4. Take Consumer Complaints And Public Concern Seriously

Monitoring and responding to feedback is one of the best ways to create accountability for your role in food defense. Register any complaints you receive in a database and respond to them in a timely manner. If anything happens in the industry that creates public safety concerns, investigate your own ingredients and processes to make sure your supply chain isn’t affected or vulnerable. In the event of a product recall, be communicative and transparent with consumers to drive more participation, as well as to protect your brand.

PLM: The Frontline Defender Against Food Fraud

Managing critical and complex food defense processes can be challenging — especially with a myriad of other concerns in product development, production, and marketing. How do you effectively manage all of the information and processes involved in different aspects of each product, especially food defense and security? You need a software platform designed to automate database management. That’s where product lifecycle management (PLM) comes in.

Cloud-based PLM software creates a single source of truth for all of your product’s data over the course of its lifespan, including where ingredients were sourced from and which vendors played a role in their creation. PLM software not only replaces, but surpasses, Excel files and other basic databases you’ve relied on in the past, eliminating data silos and transforming how you manage product information.

Don’t just trust any generic PLM to handle your needs. SpecPage by Revalize specializes in the industry, allowing users to automate food data publication and other critical compliance functions. 

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