Intentional contamination, sabotage or identity fraud… Now what?
As a food company, you want to market quality products. Unfortunately, several people (employees, criminals) may influence the quality and damage your reputation. In production, you try to avoid intentional contamination by installing a Food Defense culture. However, it is harder to monitor the external warehouse, transportation or point of sale. Criminals tend to pick out these weaker links to strike. Sometimes they even misuse your brand, product or packaging to ship illegal goods. As a company, how do you deal with these types of crime? We discuss a few cases below.
Intentional contamination in production is still happening. For example, in 2017, button cell batteries were found in chocolate Easter bunnies (UK), methamphetamines in soft drinks (Mexico) and in 2020, razor blades were found in pizza dough (USA).
Moreover, criminals attempt to misuse product packaging. For example, MDMA was found in bottles of wine (2017, 2020) and champagne (2022). One of our members discovered that their packaging was exploited by an international drug network. They discovered that their logo, address and product packaging was used to allegedly send samples of the product. After analysing the contents, it turned out to be drugs. Once your products are displayed on store shelves, they are an easy target for contamination. In 2019, a number of our companies received a threat letter of Kwik & Flupke. The companies had to pay bitcoins or their shelve products would be contaminated with a toxic substance, namely oleandrin.
What can we learn from this incident?
Create a Food Defense culture
A good Food Defense strategy should prevent employees or external people from contaminating your products. As such, unescorted visitors and external people must be addressed and escorted to the responsible person. Open communication and rapid incident escalation contribute to a safety culture.
Know what is going on in production
Create an external anonymous hotline where employees can go to with suspicions of fraud or sabotage.
Switch quickly and work together
Do you have an inkling that you are the victim of identity fraud or sabotage? Immediately start gathering evidence of the fraud or sabotage. Next, you have to contact the right partners. Call us right away and we will check which specialised and independent investigators are able to assist you. Also report
this to the police through their website.
How can we help you?
Save the date! On 28/09 we will organize a study afternoon on crime & security.
More information coming soon!
Food Defense culture
First, we do a short audit of your production site during a Quick Security Scan. Next, we bring your Food Defense plan to the next level during a workshop. Finally, we try to increase awareness and expose weaknesses during an intrusion test.
Anonymous external hotline
Your membership with Food Security also includes a subscription to a whistleblower line.
Contact us for more information!
"Jaarlijks wordt een ledenvergadering georganiseerd waarbij hot topics zoals bijvoorbeeld cybersecurity, food defense, … naar voor komen (ook op basis van suggesties van de aangesloten leden) en waar er mogelijkheid is om ervaringen te delen met andere voedingsbedrijven."
The Belgian Chocolate group
"Jaarlijks hebben we een gesimuleerde crisisoefening die door Food Security werd voorbereid en begeleid tijdens de dag zelf, uitgevoerd. Hierbij worden de leden van het crisisteam (en hun vervangers) ondergedompeld in een onverwachte situatie die on the spot moet worden behandeld. Deze oefening heeft ervoor gezorgd dat (bij een echt voorval dat we hebben gehad) de betrokken mensen hun taken en verantwoordelijkheden kenden, wisten welke info snel moest opgezocht worden, dat bepaalde teksten voorbereid waren, dat de juiste communicatie kon gebeuren, …. De debriefing bij elke oefening legt de onvolmaaktheden bloot dewelke dan weer materiaal zijn voor trainingen daarna."
The Belgian Chocolate group
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