There are two general approaches to performing a vulnerability assessment for food fraud.
But first…. for the purposes of this page, a vulnerability assessment is a risk-assessment-style evaluation of a food product or ingredient’s vulnerability to food fraud. For information about food defense vulnerability assessments (intentional adulteration vulnerabilities), click here.
The two approaches are (1) a conventional risk assessment model or (2) based on the recommendations of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) in their guidance document Understanding Vulnerability Assessment (2015)
The conventional method is a combination of the likelihood of something occurring versus consequences if that thing occurs. This method is recommended for all types of food businesses. It allows businesses to identify their most vulnerable ingredients, products and brands and provides an excellent framework to prioritise mitigation strategies.
The second method is recommended for businesses wishing to meet the requirements of British Retail Consortium (BRC) Food Safety Standard Issue 7 and Issue 8 (clause 5.4.2). The BRC method does not address the risks from all types of food fraud; it only addresses the risk from adulteration and substitution of raw materials and ingredients. Therefore it is not recommended for businesses that need to meet the requirements of other GFSI food safety standards such as FSSC 22000 Version 4 (clause 188.8.131.52) or SQF Edition 8. What are these acronymns?
For more information about how to conduct a vulnerability assessment, take a look at Vulnerability Assessments; What? Why? How?