“Embrace 17th August: A Pledge Against Food Fraud!” — Happy Independence Day, Indonesia!
I woke up at 8 AM, and like most people, I checked my phone and talked to my partner, just telling him what I would do on this day. Anyway, Happy Independence Day, Indonesia! I hope your legacy will endure, and each of us will be fair enough to adhere to the just policies of the Government. And wait, don’t forget about the air quality in Jakarta! It has been extremely terrible lately. I hope every stakeholder will take this problem seriously as it could lead to a major public health issue. Blaming this solely on factors like public density is not enough.
Yesterday, I was about to read some articles and talk to my friend who focuses on Food Fraud issues in Indonesia. After over 3 years of working in Quality and believing that Food safety is the main concern with preserved food, I forgot about the Incidence of Food Fraud in Indonesia. Unfortunately, Food Fraud remains unknown and undetectable among Indonesians, AND I AM QUITE CERTAIN IT IS CAUSING MAJOR PROBLEMS IN OUR FUTURE!
I don’t know the exact number of people who have received awareness training about CPPOB (Cara Produksi Pangan Olahan yang Baik) or GMP from the Indonesian government regarding Food Safety. Whatever it is, as Muslim-majority citizens, we should remember that when engaging in business, we must consider humanitarian aspects regardless of economic issues.
According to Databoks, Jakarta stands as a testament to this culinary fervor, boasting a burgeoning abundance of culinary enterprises. The city’s profound reliance on the culinary realm is evident, underscored by its unwavering support for this thriving sector. The prevalent culture of dining out serves as a robust catalyst propelling this industry to unprecedented growth.
Beyond tradition, it is the technology that significantly fuels the culinary surge. Cutting-edge technological advancements synergize seamlessly with culinary enterprises, fortifying their engagement and expansion. The digital landscape bridges the gap between gastronomic delights and eager consumers, revolutionizing the way culinary businesses flourish. As Indonesia embraces this culinary revolution, the harmonious convergence of tradition, technology, and entrepreneurial spirit propels the nation’s culinary landscape to unparalleled heights.
Despite the increase in food entrepreneurs in Indonesia and the technology that has made everything easier, unfortunately, many entrepreneurs in the country appear to lack full awareness of the potential food fraud they may be involved in.
Here we go:
The link above serves as proof that there have been instances of food fraud among Indonesians.
Before delving too deeply, let’s provide a straightforward explanation of food fraud. This term refers to a deliberate practice wherein individuals deceive consumers, retailers, or manufacturers by distorting food products, all for the sake of financial gain. This manipulation encompasses actions like adulteration, substitution, tampering, or mislabeling of food items. The ultimate objective is to present these products as more valuable, of superior quality, or hailing from a different source than their actual origins. Notably, food fraud can manifest at different points along the supply chain, spanning production, processing, distribution, and retail stages.
Illustrative instances of food fraud encompass:
- Adulteration: This pertains to the inclusion of lower-quality or more affordable substances in a food item. The rationale behind this is to boost the product’s mass or weight, thereby maximizing profits. A case in point would be the addition of water to milk or diluting premium-grade olive oil with inferior oils.
- Substitution: Here, a key ingredient is substituted with a less desirable or more economical alternative. For example, substituting one fish variety with another or employing different meat species than what the label indicates.
- Mislabeling: This involves the dissemination of false details on product labels, such as incorrect place of origin, expiration dates, or nutritional content.
- Counterfeiting: This centers around the creation of imitation food items packaged and labeled to strikingly resemble renowned brands, effectively tricking consumers into purchasing these products.
- Economic Adulteration: Often driven by financial motives, this action entails the introduction of undeclared or unauthorized components into a product. A prime example would be the unauthorized inclusion of food additives or preservatives to prolong shelf life.
- Fraudulent Claims: This encompasses the propagation of baseless assertions regarding a product’s health benefits, quality, or authenticity, all in a bid to captivate consumers.
- Packaging and Quantity Manipulation: Manipulation of packaging to convey a false impression of a larger product quantity, often accomplished through the use of oversized packaging.
Food fraud is not exclusive to any particular tier of business; it affects entities across the spectrum. One notably glaring example of food fraud involves Nestlé, wherein their products were found to possess characteristics deemed unhealthy and even contained traces of horse DNA. This revelation underscores the pervasive nature of food fraud, impacting even globally recognized corporations like Nestlé.
Food, an indispensable element of human existence, holds paramount importance. Tragically, the specter of food fraud looms large, capable of wreaking havoc on society and precipitating grave public health repercussions down the line.
Unveiling the 2 Most Startling Instances of Global Food Fraud:
- Milk Manipulation: The annals of food fraud feature milk as a standout victim. The notorious 2008 episode in China remains etched in memory when infant formula milk was tainted. Dilution with water and the introduction of melamine, a toxic compound, not only diluted the nutritional content but also led to a health crisis, afflicting thousands of infants and causing six untimely deaths. Adulteration with water stands as a common tactic, boosting volume and thus profits.
- Fruit Juice Fiasco: Even the purity of fruit juices is under scrutiny. Reports unveil the grim reality of juices being concocted from decayed fruits, potentially adulterating fresh juice. The Food Fraud Database’s 2013 revelation exposed another facet — fraudulent blending with juices from different fruits, with pomegranate, acclaimed as a ‘superfood’, being the prime target. Shockingly, certain products contained no pomegranate whatsoever, amplifying the deception.
A Multifaceted Quandary: Understanding the Genesis of Food Fraud
Food fraud’s genesis is deeply complex, emanating from an interplay of multifarious factors. Addressing this scourge necessitates a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach, involving an array of stakeholders such as governmental bodies, regulatory authorities, food producers, manufacturers, retailers, and, crucially, consumers.
Countermeasures to Combat Food Fraud:
- Transparency Reshaping Food Policy: By infusing greater transparency into food policy, the incidences of food fraud can be significantly mitigated.
- Collective Vigilance: A united front comprising all stakeholders is imperative to combat food fraud effectively. Collaboration between government agencies, regulatory bodies, and industry players can fortify defenses against deceptive practices.
- Empowering Consumers: A crucial line of defense is informed consumers. By gaining an intimate understanding of our food sources and supply chains, consumers can thwart potential food fraud instances.
However, the fight against food fraud harbors an unsettling reality — those with limited financial means find themselves most susceptible. Vulnerability amplifies for individuals of lower income strata, making them disproportionately prone to becoming victims of food fraud’s sinister machinations.
In conclusion, the omnipresent threat of food fraud necessitates unrelenting vigilance and concerted efforts. By fostering transparency, fortifying food policies, and enhancing consumer awareness, society can collectively repel this menace. In the face of such adversity, knowledge remains the most potent weapon, capable of safeguarding the sanctity of the food we consume and the health of generations to come.