In a nationally representative study, 38% of 900 food samples turned out to be something other than what was claimed, highlighting the abundance of fake food in the UK, an issue that with decreased testing looks to be sticking around.

It begs the question, where will the food industry be if budgets to carry out testing continue to be cut, putting the public at increasing risk and deteriorating brand trust?

Looking at the big picture, third-party testing is only one component of the compliance process, and there should be a drive for all supply chain partners to take a more active role in providing total visibility of the other elements of due diligence.

Full transparency of who is in your supply chain, where your product is coming from and evidence of the due diligence that is taking place are just some of the areas that need to be managed every day in order to mitigate risk. 

Food businesses which manage and measure these areas of quality and compliance will have a greater degree of visibility and knowledge of their supply partners and the ability to isolate impact. There’s now a real understanding that any internal compliance process needs to go back to the source, and data needs to be shared up and down the supply chain. So we’re not just measuring the performance of your suppliers, but also your suppliers’ suppliers… right to raw material and back again.

By using new supply chain technology to collect all of this data and constantly validate the approval status of the entire supply chain, retailers can feel confident that they are working with approved suppliers that meet the correct criteria.

Of course, issues like food fraud are very difficult to manage, and there’s no simple solution. But with technology in place to offer complete transparency, businesses will have the competitive advantage - faring better than others in the glare of public scrutiny, as they will be able to pinpoint any problem areas and take action without delay.

Jonathan Evans, managing director, Muddy Boots Software