SSAFE and PwC help companies prevent food fraud in China

Equipping companies to identify vulnerabilities in food supply chains, internal processes and supplier management

Hong Kong, 12 Dec 2016 - SSAFE and PwC have prepared a Chinese-language tool that helps companies to assess their food fraud vulnerabilities and develop food fraud mitigation plans. The self-assessment tool is available free of charge.

Research conducted by PwC found that 36% of all organisations surveyed globally had experienced economic crime during the past 24 months[1]. Industry experts estimate that the global food industry loses US$30 to $40 billion every year due to food fraud[2].

The tool takes a science-based approach to help companies identify risk factors throughout their supply chains. It was developed by SSAFE, in partnership with Wageningen University, Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam, PwC and food industry leaders from around the world. It will help companies meet new requirements being introduced by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) for assessment and mitigation of food fraud vulnerabilities. 

Food fraud prevention has become increasingly relevant to China's food industry. As the country's production, processing, manufacturing and distribution have grown in scale and diversity, the opportunities and motivation for food fraud have increased dramatically. China is now the largest producer of many food products, and home to some of the world’s largest food companies. Preventing food fraud is challenging, however, due to the extremely fragmented industry structure with millions of small producers, processors and traders. 

"Protecting consumers is our top priority. This tool will help companies identify potential weaknesses within their own company and in their supply chains, and will enable them to strengthen their internal controls to mitigate against criminal adulteration of their ingredients and food products," says SSAFE Executive Director Quincy Lissaur. "Collaborating with PwC, who have a strong tradition of helping companies manage risks and optimise processes, greatly improves the proposition and reach of this tool."

"Food safety and quality management systems have traditionally focused on preventing unintentional contamination with known pathogens or substances," said Amy Cai, PwC China's Priority Services Leader. "Food fraud prevention, however, requires a different approach; it must take into account dishonest behaviour, deliberate deception and economic incentives. In most cases, fraudulent ingredients and modifications are specifically designed to evade quality assurance and quality control systems."

Food fraud usually occurs where the potential for and the temptation of fraud are high, and the risk of getting caught is low. Consumers are happy to pay a premium price for products such as extra virgin olive oil, a grand cru wine or honey from New Zealand’s mānuka plants. Criminals can profit by secretly diluting these with lower value or substandard ingredients. Such fraud is difficult to detect, and complex supply chains can make it very difficult for food businesses, let alone consumers, to confirm the authenticity of their purchases. 

According to contemporary criminology, economically motivated crimes result from the combination of opportunities, motivations and inadequate control measures. The Food Fraud Vulnerability Assessment Tool helps companies analyse risk factors in each of these three areas. 

"As production, processing and distribution become more sophisticated, the path from farm to table becomes more complex," said Samie Wan, PwC Food Supply & Integrity Services Partner. "The food fraud vulnerability assessment tool supports public and private sector efforts to ensure integrity, transparency and trust throughout the food supply chain."

SSAFE and PwC's 'Food Fraud Vulnerability Assessment' is freely available now, in Chinese and English, for all food companies to download at, and is also available on the iPad app store and Google Play app store.

Notes to editor

About the SSAFE and PwC 'Food Fraud Vulnerability Assessment' tool

  • SSAFE - working alongside Wageningen University, VU University Amsterdam, PwC and food industry leaders around the world - has created a food fraud vulnerability assessment tool. The tool can be used free-of-charge to help identify food fraud vulnerabilities and provide companies with a basis for developing mitigation and control strategies to reduce their risk to fraudulent attacks.
  • The tool does not provide specific mitigation techniques, detect fraud or predict future food fraud incidents, but it does provide guidance on how and where to find solutions.
  • The tool will support the food industry in preparing for new requirements that food companies conduct food fraud vulnerability assessments.
  • The tool is freely available for food companies to use and for sharing between people, departments and geographies within an organisation to get a clear picture of vulnerabilities.
  • The tool can be applied anywhere across the food supply chain to assess any ingredient, product or facility for vulnerabilities to fraud; irrespective of the type of food company, its size or geographic location.
  • The tool is available online at as well as in the iPad app store and Google Play stores.

About the online assessment

  • Responses to the assessment are confidential and anonymous, with respondents and organisations not identifiable from the information recorded. All responses will be generalised and allow for aggregated data sharing to support benchmarking, research and in-company reporting.
  • More information about the tool is contained in the brochure 'Food Fraud Vulnerability Assessment and Mitigation' available at

Research and further information


SSAFE is a global non-profit membership-driven organisation that aims to foster the continuous improvement and global acceptance of internationally recognised food protection systems and standards through public-private partnerships. What makes SSAFE unique is its focus on driving collaboration between the public and private sector to enhance the integrity of the food supply chain - its collaboration with PwC being one such example of how it is achieving its global vision.

SSAFE's mission is to foster the continuous improvement and global acceptance of internationally recognized food protection systems and standards through public private partnerships. Find out more at

About PwC Food Supply & Integrity Services

PwC China's Food Supply & Integrity Services can help clients with food safety and quality management, risk assessment, supply chain management, food safety culture, growth strategy, investments and acquisitions.

[1] PwC 2016 Global Economic Crime Survey
[2] John Spink, Michigan State University Food Fraud Initiative

Contact us

Peter Craughwell

Senior Manager

Tel: +[852] 2289 8696

Follow us