As an exporting nation, Australia relies on its reputation for producing quality, safe product to meet domestic and international demand for food and fibre. Increasingly, we are seeing food fraud pose significant risks to Australia’s reputation, as well as reducing profit for producers and exporters as a result of fraudulent activity.
Food fraud is becoming a significant global challenge, estimated to cost somewhere between $40-50 billion a year. The estimate for Australia is closer to $2-3 billion (PwC). The common food fraud activity relates to counterfeit and substitute food, but is also experienced through dilution, unapproved enhancements, mislabeling, concealment and grey market production, theft and diversion.
In aspiring to meet the target of $100bn in farm gate value by 2030, set by the National Farmers’ Federation, Australia should be focused on building a strong, high value food economy by capitalising on changing consumer trends and a growing Asian middle class consumer.
Achieving these targets will require gaining a better appreciation of the actual cost of food fraud for Australian agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries, as well as their value chains. There is also scope to understand the options for overcoming the food fraud issue by looking at technologies and systems available, both domestically and internationally, as well policies and trade arrangements that reduce the incidence and prevalence of food fraud.