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What works to prevent food fraud

Appendix 2: What works to prevent food fraud- glossary and abbreviations

Definitions and clarifications relating to the report on what works to prevent food fraud.

Last updated: 10 April 2024
See all updates
Last updated: 10 April 2024
See all updates
Term or Acronym Definition and Clarification
Adulteration  Intentionally adding extraneous, improper, or inferior ingredients to a food product.
Capable Guardians A capable guardian has a ‘human element’, that is usually a person who, by their mere presence, would deter potential offenders from perpetrating a food fraud. Examples of capable guardians in food fraud are, Co-Workers, Technical Managers and Environmental Health Officers. Capable Guardianship develops the concept of Guardianship (QV) requiring that they are effective. For example, a capable guardian could also be CCTV, providing that someone is always monitoring the camera, which would otherwise be ineffective. See also Guardianship.
Central Competent Authority Agencies established by Law responsible for the Policy and Strategy of Food Safety, Food Standards and Food Crime. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) acts for England, Northern Ireland and Wales and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) acts for Scotland. 
Countermeasures The action taken by an individual, organisation, or other body to counteract or offset a given danger or threat.
Due Diligence Legal defences in response to prosecution proceedings pursuing sections 8, 14 and 15 of the Food Safety Act 1990 intended to provide some mitigation to the strict liability nature of these sections of the Act. Case Law has established that the defence requires setting up a preventative system and ensuring that the system is fully validated, verified, and implemented.
Economically motivated adulteration (EMA) Economically motivated adulteration is a subset of food fraud. It is the intentional substitution or addition of a substance in a product for the purpose of increasing the apparent value of the product or reducing the cost of its production, for economic gain. 
Environmental Health Departments (EH Depts) Departments with Local Authorities (Councils) required by Food Law to deliver Official Controls including the inspection of food businesses and the enforcement of Food Law. Local Authorities are appointed as Local Competent Authorities for Food Law and as Statutory Food Authorities.
Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) Professionals recognised by retained EU Food law and authorised by UK Food Laws responsible for Public Health including Food Law. EHOs are mainly employed by Local Authorities but are also employed by the FSA and FSS.
Evidence Triangulation The gathering of objective evidence from three (or more) sources with the purpose of seeking corroboration of these sources of evidence and thereby increasing the certainty of the inference reached. See also Official Control Verification (OCV).
FFVA See Food Fraud Vulnerability Assessment 
Food Authenticity Food authenticity is the quality of a food to be genuine and undisputed in its nature, origin, identity, and claims, and to meet expected properties.
Food Business Operators (FBOs) The natural person or legal person (i.e., Company) made responsible by retained EU Food Law for compliance with Food Law.
Food Control Management Systems (FCMS) A modern and emergent concept for a comprehensive food management system covering the following elements – Food Hygiene, Food Safety, Nature, Substance and Quality, Food Standards Labelling and Composition, Food Fraud, Food Crime, Food Defence and Traceability. For example, HACCP, TACCP and VACCP would fall within the scope of the FCMS.
Food Crime Serious fraud and related criminality within food supply chains.
Food Defence The process to ensure the security of food and drink and their supply chains from all forms of intentional malicious attack including ideologically motivated attack leading to contamination or supply failure. Thus, food defence strategies can be developed at the national, regional, supply chain, and organisational level.
Food Fraud  Any deliberate action of businesses or individuals to deceive others in regard to the integrity of food to gain undue advantage. Types of food fraud include but not limited to adulteration, substitution, dilution, tampering, simulation, counterfeiting, and misrepresentation.
Food Integrity The status of a food product where it is authentic and not altered or modified with respect to expected characteristics including, safety, quality, and nutrition.
Food fraud vulnerability assessment (FFVA) An evaluation of the susceptibility of a system to food fraud. Common features identification, quantification, and prioritisation (or ranking) the vulnerabilities in a system. These assessments have led to the identification of processing steps of highest concern and potential mitigation strategies that may reduce these vulnerabilities 
Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) The Global Food Safety Initiative is a private sector business-driven initiative for the continuous improvement of Food Safety management systems with the ambition to ensure confidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers worldwide.
Guardian A person or an object that is effective in deterring criminal offences and sometimes crime is stopped by simple presence of guardianship in space and time. A guardian would not necessarily have to be a policeman or a security guard but rather a person whose proximity or presence would lower the chances of a crime happening. This could include a consumers, a doorman, a neighbour or a co-worker. Whilst inadvertent, the presence of a guardian has a powerful impact on the likelihood of a food fraud taking place. Thus, when the guardian is not within the vicinity of the target, the likelihood of a crime occurring is significantly higher.
Hazard A biological, chemical, or physical agent in food with the potential to cause an adverse health effect.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) A system that identifies and enhances control of significant hazards (QV), where necessary. The intent of the HACCP system which is science based is to focus control at Critical Control Points (CCPs). By specifying critical limits for control measures at CCPs and corrective actions when limits are not met, and by producing records that are reviewed before product release.
Horizon Scanning A systematic process focusing on detecting the early signs of any potential developments relevant to food fraud. An example would be a Typhoon Hagibis which had the potential to disrupt Wasabi supplies and incentivise fraudulent imitation of this valuable commodity. 
Intelligence Information compiled, analysed, and/or disseminated in an effort to anticipate, prevent, or monitor criminal activity.
Mass Balance Analysis  A method and technique of verification (QV). A mass balance is an accounting for all the materials in a process. Mass balance is a detailed and systematic consideration of all the inputs, outputs, and distribution of substances (for example, ingredients, additives packaging, waste) in a food process. Reconciliation is sought between inputs and outputs. Significant differences between inputs and outputs and with the standard operating procedures of the FCMS (QV) can be indicative of further verification and potentially of food fraud.
MOOCS Massive Open Online Courses.
Official Control Verification (OCV) A scientific, systematic, and structured approach to verifying FCMSs (QV) based upon the scientific method and explicitly applying deduction and induction through a dual process of Triangulation. OCV was designed to improve the verification of FCMSs (QV), including in relation to food frauds.
Official Controls (OCs) Official controls are carried out by the competent authorities in the EU countries and the UK to verify FBO (QV) compliance with the requirements set out in agri-food chain legislation. OCs are mainly carried by the Environmental Health Depts of Local Authorities.
Provenance  Refers to the geographic location of where the ingredients and the final food are grown, processed, and finally manufactured and also to how that food is produced and whether the methods of production and processes employed comply with certain standards and protocols. 
Quality Assurance Critical Control Points (QUACCP) An approach to assuring the nature substance, quality, authenticity, and integrity of food derived from HACCP (QV). QUACCP tends to address the prevention of errors rather than deliberate acts such as food fraud.
Routine Activity Theory One of the main theories of “environmental criminology”. The theory states that a crime such as a fraud occurs when the following three elements come together in any given space and time: 1. an accessible target 2. the absence of capable guardians that could intervene 3. the presence of a motivated offender (Cohen and Felson, 1979). 
SSAFE SSAFE is a non-profit membership organization that works through public private partnerships to strengthen the safe supply and trade.
Threat Something that can cause loss or harm, which arises from the ill‐intent of people. See also Vulnerabilities.
Threat Assessment Critical Control Point:- (TACCP) Systematic management of risk through the evaluation of threats, identification of vulnerabilities (QV), and implementation of controls to materials and products, purchasing, processes, premises, distribution networks and business systems by a knowledgeable and trusted team with the authority to implement changes to procedures.
Traceability The ability to discern, identify and follow the movement of a food or substance intended to be or expected to be incorporated into a food, through all stages of production, processing and distribution. 
Triangulation The cross referencing of three (or more) sources of evidence, propositions, perspectives, or methods in order to seek corroboration the purpose of which is to enhance the certainty of any inferences reached.
US Food Safety Modernisation ACT (FSMA) An Act passed by then US President Obama with the purpose of transforming the nation’s food safety system by shifting the focus from responding to foodborne illness to preventing it.

The application of methods, procedures, tests and other evaluations, in addition to monitoring, to determine whether a  FCMS (QV) is or has been operating as intended. This would include Inspections, Audits, and Sampling carried out by Local Authorities, FBOs and Third-Party Auditing companies. See also Official Control Verification.

Verification ecosystem The network of interlocking methods and techniques for verification (QV) of food control management systems (QV) in relation to food fraud, encompassing FBO (QV) and state actors.
Vulnerabilities The weak points or gaps in the formal management systems, or on the manufacturing site itself, that can be identified by perpetrators where their intentional action to mislead, misinform and/or undertake illegal activity can lead to a realisable threat.
Vulnerability Assessment Critical Control Point (VACCP)

An emergent approach comprising Horizon Scanning (QV) for ‘clues’ and ‘actionable intelligence’ relating to adulteration, substitution and supply chain integrity and suggest ‘Thinking like a Criminal’ and entering the mind-set of a criminal to identify opportunities for fraud and criminal activity.


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