Supply chain strains and the war in Ukraine have challenged food security around the globe and, in the process, increased the likelihood for food fraud. Seafood, which is regularly traded, is especially susceptible to it, but grains, meat and legumes have also been impacted by food fraud in recent years. Chris Elliott, food safety expert and founder of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, told New Food magazine recently that one of the biggest consumer risks from food fraud is the fraudulent introduction of allergens into food products, which threaten the health of a restaurant’s customers. That risk is followed by the emergence of new proteins that may come from unsustainable sources. Restaurants can best protect themselves from the rising risk of food fraud by sourcing items locally, which simplifies and clarifies the supply chain; closely monitoring the path an ingredient must take to reach their business; assessing any vulnerabilities that may exist with staff, technology, inventory procedures and suppliers; and being transparent with both staff and customers about sourcing – it will naturally help increase an operation’s awareness of fraud when it occurs.
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