A multi-billion-dollar criminal enterprise lurks among the many shelves of our supermarkets. Food crime not only hurts our wallets, but threatens public health. It includes actions comparable to mislabeling a product, replacing a food or ingredient with one other, inferior substance, and even poisoning.

This is a global problem resulting from the evolution of food crime. The complexity of food supply chains, the globalization of food markets and the shortage of transparency increase the vulnerability of the food sector. Therefore, it is essential to rethink how we combat food crime using technology.

Food related crimes are currently causing is estimated at $40 billion (£31 billion) damage worldwide yearly. British Food Standards Agency defines food crime as “serious fraud and related crime in food supply chains”.

If we take into consideration food crimes with criminal perspective focused on profitwe can understand it double role each as a way for criminals to generate dirty money that should be laundered, and as a strategy to launder illicit funds from other criminal activities.

Seven sorts of food crime explained by the Food Standards Agency.

The food industry is particularly attractive to fraudsters resulting from its great potential profitable. Researchers have discovered two foremost approaches utilized by fraudsters in relation to high demand products.

First, they aim relatively low-cost on a regular basis foods comparable to bottled water and olive oil because they cover a large portion of consumers, which implies they can maximize profits. For example, a Spaniard and an Italian investigation in 2023 led to the confiscation of 260,000 liters of olive oil. Investigators found that olive oil labeled “virgin” or “extra virgin” had been diluted with a low-quality variety.

Another example was Horsemeat scandal in 2013, when beef products were found to contain horse meat across Europe. There was multiple such meat 4 times cheaper produce.

Alternatively, some fraudsters trick undiscerning ‘gourmets’ into paying higher prices for cheaper food masquerading as a higher quality product – for instance low-cost camouflage truffles like exotic Italian truffles.

Unfortunately, our knowledge of those complex financial crimes is often limited, making detecting and stopping food fraud difficult. a demanding task.

Emerging technology

This was stated by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, a global anti-fraud body 91% of organizations world wide have used data analytics technology to answer the growing risk of economic crime. This technology is promising because it can dig hidden patterns in huge datasets, leading to raised crime detection and prevention.

For example, machine learning can analyze data and discover suspicious activity. It can also learn and adapt as recent information becomes available. In the context of food crime, this may increasingly include flagging specific locations, people or corporations that will pose a risk.

Evidence on this topic is limited, so we imagine that further research ought to be carried out to research previous cases of food fraud. Identifying recurring themes and patterns using machine learning could enable the event of a higher detection model, which, when combined with the expertise of regulators, food manufacturers, distributors and retailers, may very well be a powerful tool.

A Dutch food inspector carried out a meat inspection in 2013 after receiving information that beef products across Europe contained horse meat.
Images by Erik Van T./EPA

Researchers suggest the food industry is undergoing a potential change blockchain technology could enable consumers to make higher decisions when purchasing food. Blockchain is like a secure public ledger that can’t be manipulated. This technology subsequently enables anyone, from supermarket chains to individual consumers, to simply and reliably trace food back to its origin. Imagine with the ability to make informed selections at the shop, knowing exactly where your food comes from.

IN AustraliaThe adoption of blockchain technology by some manufacturers in recent times is expected to help solve the multi-billion dollar food problem wine fraud. AND recent research found that blockchain data security and data corruption tolerance are essential features underlying its potential to combat food fraud.

Collaboration is key

While recent technologies hold promise within the fight against food crime, they do exist gossip overcome. For example, implementing blockchain across the worldwide food supply chain faces challenges challenges including the shortage of international standards and difficulties in processing huge amounts of information. Blockchain technology may require additional technology, making it expensive for small food producers.

Ultimately, the important thing to combating food fraud is collaboration. We must unite law enforcement, industry professionals, organizations of all sizes and scientists, each with appropriate ethical oversight by their institutions.

Any anti-fraud measures mustn’t make it significantly tougher for consumers to buy food. If the method becomes too burdensome, people may find ways to get around it, which could create recent loopholes within the food system.

This article was originally published on : theconversation.com

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