European food supply at risk from climate change affects on other continents
A study that examined European water demand found the EU to be likely to be affected by droughts in other countries because of its reliance on certain food crops that do not grow in Europe. They predicted that droughts in growing areas for almonds, pistachios, grapes, rice, soybeans and sugar cane would have serious impact on European supplies and prices. Droughts are expected to occur more frequently with climate change. The largest impact is expected to be on the European meat and dairy sector due to its reliance on soy for animal feed. Increasing prices and factors that affect supply can increase the risk of food fraud, with food and feed that is imported from drought affected countries likely to become more vulnerable.
Condiments and sauces; counterfeiting operations, products uncovered more frequently
Another counterfeit condiment operation has been uncovered in Asia in recent months. This follows an earlier discovery, in January this year of a sophisticated factory complex in China that was manufacturing a range of sauces and noodles and packing them with counterfeit branding for Maggi, Knorr and Nestle. Fifty small factories were hidden in a residential area, and managed to produce goods worth $14.5 million per year, according to one estimate. In Europe, counterfeit seasoning cubes were seized during a recent enforcement operation. And there have been two recent incidences of salt fraud; one in Nigeria and one in Scotland. Is condiment counterfeiting growing or are we just getting better at finding it? Only time will tell. What we do know for certain is that it is not only premium, luxury goods that are at risk of being copied.
Coffee price volatility set to increase
Larger than usual volatility in coffee pricing is predicted for the coming year as weather events and an unusually large predicted crop of arabica in Brazil are expected to impact world markets. In addition, the Honduran coffee harvest is at risk from a leaf mould disease. The previous outbreak in that country had a lasting impact on the harvest. Coffee is already at high risk of food fraud and increasing volatility in the markets in the short term is likely to increase the risk. Long term predictions for coffee supply are already grim because of climate change’s effects on growing conditions. Heavy disease burdens in key growing areas will exacerbate the problem and ultimately increase the supply problems worldwide, increasing coffee’s vulnerability to food fraud.
Vertical integration in the food supply chain in Italy
An Italian consumer group has warned that at least 5000 restaurants in Italy are run by the mafia. The mafia in Italy are also said to be involved in food fraud within primary production, manufacturing and wholesaling sectors. Any restaurant that is run by an organisation that has links to organisations that are perpetrating food fraud provides the perfect sales outlet for the fraud-affected food. The foods are, in effect, exchanged for ‘clean’ currency from restaurant patrons, essentially laundering money derived from food fraud operations. It has been reported that some of the mafia-run growing operations are being done on polluted land that is not safe for food production.
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