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What works to prevent food fraud

Appendix 5: What works to prevent food fraud- interview protocol

Protocol when conducting interviews for the report on what works to prevent food fraud.

Last updated: 11 April 2023
See all updates
Last updated: 11 April 2023
See all updates

Specification note on In-depth Interview

Interviews with domestic and international experts, including representatives from organisations which have established fraud prevention strategies. 

Interviews will provide an opportunity to identify relevant detailed examples of where fraud prevention strategies/initiatives have been implemented. The findings from the interviews will be triangulated with the evidence gathered in the evidence review. We anticipate that up to 15 interviews could be conducted to allow for a range of international and domestic food and non-food focused organisations to take part. 

We propose that a purposive sampling approach is taken. In your response, please outline your proposed approach to sampling, recruitment and the number of interviews you propose conducting to obtain the evidence required to answer the research questions.  

The aims of this research are to: 

  • Investigate strategies for the prevention of food fraud which have been successfully utilised in other countries and organisations outside of the FSA (both within the UK and internationally);
  • Understand what has worked well in preventing food fraud and the lessons learned from these initiatives/strategies;
  • Understand what has worked well in preventing fraud in other commodity/ physical goods based industries (for example, pharmaceuticals) and the lessons learnt from these strategies; 
  • Provide recommendations which could be adopted by the National Food Crime Unit’s (NFCU) and incorporated into the Unit’s key strategies; 
  • Provide recommendations for any future research required within this area. 

Interview Protocol

Prior to Interview: 

Research Participant Information and Consent Form will be sent to the participant. 

The Consent Form should be received back latest on the morning of the agreed interview day.

On the Interview day:

The Lead and Second Interviewer should arrive on MS Teams or other agreed platform before the scheduled interview to run through the protocol and questions before the interview starts.

All: Welcome and introductions

  • Lead interviewer: Appreciate the interviewee for agreeing to participate.
  • Lead Interviewer: Ask if interviewee have any questions before the interview starts and check online consent form has been returned once everyone if happy, recording can begin. Also discuss coffee break plans before commencing the interview.
  • Participant: Can switch off their video camera if they feel more comfortable with this.
  • Lead interviewer or Lincoln Staff: Start recording
  • Set out scope of research.
  • Briefly reiterate the scope of the research, what the aims of the project are and what we hope to achieve at the end of the interview/research.

Background questions (these can be collected before the interview)

  • BQ1: Tell us more about your organisation as well as your role within it.
  • Follow-up if participant is from industry: Which country are you in/what good does your company manufacture
  • BQ2: Tell us a bit about how your organisation/company combats fraud. 
  • Follow-up: How many people/departments work on this issue? 
  • BQ3: How has combating food fraud and fraud more generally changed in recent years? 

Leadoff Question

  • LQ1: What is your understanding of fraud? 
  • LQ2: Tell us about some examples you have come across.
  • LQ3: Tell us a bit more about fraud prevention and fraud detection.
  • LQ4: What differences do you think there are between fraud detection and fraud prevention? 
  • Follow-up: Do you see a clear difference in the two terms? Could there be an overlap (i.e. would you consider real-time detection, a prevention strategy?)Different stakeholders may have different meanings for prevention and detection - would be good to capture.

Main questions

  • MQ1: How does your organisation prevent/detect fraud? 
  • MQ2: What is/are the strategy(ies)/initiative(s) based on? Also ask about whether the strategy is reactive, proactive, random, targeted, or non-targeted?
  • MQ3: What are the aims and objectives of these strategies and initiatives?
  • MQ4: How does your company operationalise its fraud prevention strategy/policy? 
  • MQ5: What are the main objectives of your fraud strategy/policies? For example, non-conforming items entering the supply chain or from getting to the consumer or both?
  • MQ6: What weighting does your fraud prevention strategies place on things such as Do your strategies include analysis of the causes and the opportunities for Food  Fraud (for example, Food Fraud Vulnerability Assessment (FFVA)) analysis of the human factors such as Company Culture, pact of  motive and opportunity for example, education and training? of your management and workforce?
  • MQ7: How is your fraud prevention strategy/policy implemented? 
  • MQ8: How do you collaborate with other organisations (within the supply chain) to minimise fraud? 
  • MQ9: Which fraud prevention strategies/initiatives have worked? 
  • MQ10: What factors have made these strategies/initiatives particularly successful?
  • MQ11: What challenges do you/your organisation face while trying to prevent fraud and how are these challenges overcome?
  • MQ12: Which strategies/initiatives have not worked? Why?
  • MQ13: What factors have made these strategies unsuccessful? 
  • MQ14: What lessons have you learnt from the unsuccessful initiatives?
  • MQ15: What recommendations can be applied to future strategies?
  • MQ16: What conditions need to be in place to enable fraud prevention strategies to be successful? (Note conditions might be related to guardians or hurdles (hard for example, infrastructure or soft for example, procedures or policies)
  • MQ17: What is your view on the ability of current Audit practice (Methods and Techniques) both internally and externally to verify FCMS in terms of the causes and the vulnerabilities  of/to food fraud.

Questions Current Government strategy (for UK based organisations only) 

  • GQ1: How familiar are you with the UK's food fraud prevention strategies. 
  • GQ2: How active have you been in collaborating with the National Food Crime Unit (NFCU)? 
  • GQ3: What has affected how you engage with the NFCU?
  • GQ4: In your opinion, how important is intelligence sharing to successfully tackle food fraud? Are you aware of any successes in tackling Food Fraud that have come from intelligence sharing?
  • GQ5: What more can be done to improve and optimise the current government strategies/initiatives?
  • GQ6: In your opinion, what does government need to do to improve/address Food Fraud? 
  • Could Official Controls (i.e. the work of Local Authority Environmental Health Depts and Official Veterinarians)  better address Food Fraud? If so please share you view of how this might be realised.
  • GQ7: How can we learn lessons from other sectors? 
  • GQ8: What question(s) have we not asked that we should have asked?

Follow-up questions

  • Any question that participant want to get back to us on as they can provide more detail, and any additional comments from the participants. 

  • Participants to be reminded that they can contact us if they remember any other useful point(s) or information they would like to share further.
  • Closing remarks
  • Thank participant.
  • Stop recording

After the Interview:

Lead Interviewer or Lincoln staff should download interview transcript and check for obvious errors. Project Lead to send transcript to participant for confirmation details are accurate. Participant to confirm interview transcript within 7 days of receiving transcript.

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