Thai Union is committed to protect our food supply chains from food fraud and intentional adulteration of our food products and to develop mitigation strategies to prevent the occurrence of such threats to our business and customers
At a Glance
Food Fraud is a collective term used to encompass the deliberate and intentional substitution; addition; tampering or misrepresentation of food; food ingredients or food packaging; or false, misleading statements made about a product; for economic gain. In addition to potentially raising food safety issues, Food Fraud can also damage reputations and brands. It is of critical importance to have appropriate systems in place to protect reputations and assess vulnerabilities, as well as maintain proper mitigation plans.
Food Defense is the protection of food products from intentional contamination or adulteration with biological, chemical, physical or radiological agents. It addresses concerns including physical, personnel and operational security. A traditional food defense program is generally perceived as a program that includes site security, visitor control and on-site personnel monitoring. However, the new FSMA Preventive Controls Rules and GFSI Guidance for all the recognized schemes, have introduced a formalized system for implementing food defense programs.
Thai Union is introducing new programs to protect our food supply chains from food fraud and intentional adulteration. Combating Food Fraud through mitigation and food defense programs will operate in parallel with risk-based food safety management systems based on the principles of the Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP). These programs will also exist alongside our current traceability programs which seek to trace our products to identify and record their provenance and progress through supply chains. As well as forming the backbone of our sustainability strategy, SeaChange©, traceability systems are important tools for combating Food Fraud and for Food Defense. Together, all of these systems will reduce risks and prevent the likelihood of occurrence of such threats to our business. These proactive programs will work in synergy to fulfil our commitment of food quality, authenticity and safety to our customers.
THAI UNION COMBATING FOOD FRAUD AND FOOD DEFENSE POLICY
We seek to ensure that our products comply with that policy and meet all regulatory requirements.
Combating Food Fraud and Food Defense Program
Thai Union has initiated the Combating Food Fraud and Food Defense Program to align our programs which seek to combat Food Fraud; our Food Defense Vulnerability Assessment procedures; and the mitigation measures of our business. This is in addition to our current implementation of food quality and food safety schemes.
The Manual of Mitigation Measures to Combat Food Fraud and Intentional Adulteration in Thai Union is at the heart of our efforts to combat global food fraud and at the core of our food defense programs. The manual provides guidance to develop mitigation measures against both food fraud and intentional adulteration threats specific to each business.
Thai Union establishes evidence-based mitigation measures based on risk assessment and vulnerability analysis. Thai Union adopts a two-stage approach: firstly, to undertake vulnerability assessments to identify potential sources of food fraud within our supply chains; and secondly, to prioritize control measures to minimize the chances of receiving fraudulent or adulterated ingredients, raw materials or products and to address vulnerabilities within the business units, facilities or processes. Product and supplier vulnerability assessments will be undertaken on raw materials, ingredients, packaging and food. The Combating Food Fraud & Mitigation Plan will define the measure and controls that are required to address and control the risks identified. The key steps taken in developing a Combating Food Fraud & Mitigation Plan include:
- Identifying Potential Product Fraud Risks
- Undertaking a Product Fraud Vulnerability Assessment
- Conducting a Supplier Fraud Vulnerability Assessment
- Developing the Product Fraud Mitigation Plan
- Implementing and Monitoring Product Fraud Mitigation Plan Control Measures
- Reviewing and refining the Product Fraud Mitigation Plan
Food Forensic Research updates
Verifying the description of food in terms of its composition, processing or origin is challenging, but vital to protect consumers against food fraud. The Thai Union Global Innovation Center conducts research programs that support the determination of the authenticity of our raw materials and products.
The current research highlights the practical challenges faced in developing authenticity methods for species determination and methods to determine and verify the areas where fish are caught. Thai Union is now in a position to apply the basic principles of forensic science to species identification using DNA barcoding techniques and applying Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) analysis to differentiate the area of catch of different fish species.