Have you ever purchased a product only to realise it’s not quite what you thought it was? What happened? Where the packaging claims misleading? Did you make assumptions about the product without verifying they were accurate?
Product fraud can affect many industries globally but none more so than the food and medical industries.
Food Fraud, defined as intentional deception using food for economic gain, costs the global food industry as much as US$40 billion annually, according to John Spink, director of Michigan State University’s Food Fraud Initiative. These costs can be incurred through substitutions, dilutions, counterfeiting, concealment and mislabeling.
Two British food company executives were imprisoned for a scheme to pass horse meat off as beef. Additionally, a federally funded study found 20 percent of sausages sampled from grocery stores across Canada contained meats that weren't on the label.
The recent pandemic has also highlighted the risks of PPE fraud. Reports of reject quality, or even repackaged used PPE flooding the market from pandemic opportunists causing food safety and health risks to glove users, consumers and patients.
Fraud cases threaten consumer trust in products and services, and companies are putting in place measures to prevent fraud and protect their products or patients, their brands and their consumers.
Supply chain transparency is becoming more and more essential in order to identify the “hot spots” requiring traceability through databases and traceability systems. Product testing is also becoming an important tool for industries to become confident in the sourcing of raw materials.
TAKING ON GLOVE FRAUD
There is one such area in which Eagle Protect is combating product fraud - gloves. With disposable gloves in direct contact with food (from processing to purchasing) and medical (from dental work to examinations), it is essential the gloves’ raw materials touching your product and patients, are known, tested and safe for food/ patient contact.
Few controls are required for glove manufacturing relating to the reliability of raw materials, manufacturing processes and factory compliance. An opportunity exists for deliberate or accidental contamination within the manufacturing process.
What is Glove Fraud?
- Cheaper raw materials substituted
- Manufacturing processes altered
- Hygiene practices changed
- Used gloves repackaged as new
Fluctuating raw material prices and the demand for lower costs from the end-user both, pressure manufacturers to sacrifice ingredient quality and substitute other materials to meet these demands. These can include increased levels of cyanide and inexpensive phthalate plasticisers known to migrate to food or patients and the glove wearer.
One of the many shortcuts common in the low-cost manufacturing of disposable gloves is the reduction of wash-tank clean-out or water quality. This leads to a longer build-up of microbes and chemicals on the gloves, which can further affect those wearing gloves and the food handled.
It, therefore, becomes possible for a glove manufacturer to achieve FDA, Title 21 CFR Part 177 or 510 (k) certifications for a glove, then alter manufacturing practices, hygiene practices and raw material content to save costs.
HOW CAN I MITIGATE GLOVE FRAUD?
To mitigate these risks, it is important companies partner with trustworthy and transparent glove suppliers to improve their food safety or infection control practices. Sourcing and supplying single-use gloves and PPE, is not easy and takes years of experience working with suppliers to establish good relationships and quality products.
Full supply chain transparency is challenging but essential to avoid fraudulent activities. Traceability and transparency in the supply chain of disposable gloves is essential to prevent this.
At Eagle Protect, we believe supply-chain transparency is more than a list on a Safety Data Sheet. We continue to work with the most trusted and honest manufacturers, many of which have been our partners for nearly two decades.
In addition to the requirements set out in our Eagle Supplier Code of Conduct, we are also a member of SEDEX (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit) and proud to be the Worlds’ only disposable glove & PPE clothing specialist to be B Corp certified. Using new traceability technology, unique to our industry, we are trialing a range of our US based gloves.
These transparency steps allows us to maintain and hold our manufacturers accountable for product standards and quality of manufacturing.
A great deal of faith is placed in your supplier's’ ability to deliver single-use gloves & PPE sight unseen. It’s essential to go a step further to protect your product, customers, staff and ultimately your brand reputation. Let us help you to safeguard what matters most. Talk to our Eagle experts today.