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The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and Battelle Launch Tool to Fight Food Fraud

Posted on Apr 19, 2016

Battelle

EMAlert™ enables food manufacturers to manage vulnerability to Economically Motivated Adulteration (EMA) and provides a solution for food manufacturers to assist with meeting requirements of the FDA 'FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule'

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2016 -- Wood pulp in shredded Parmesan cheese. Melamine in baby formula and pet food. Asian catfish sold as grouper. Pomegranate juice cut with grape juice. Unfortunately, instances such as these, commonly called economically motivated adulteration (EMA) are but a few examples of frauds the industry must prevent each and every day.

To help combat this issue, GMA and Battelle have partnered to provide EMAlert™, a secure and intuitive web-based software tool that allows food manufacturers to rapidly analyze and understand their individual, company-specific EMA vulnerabilities in the manufacturing process. 

In today's globally distributed, dynamic food supply network there are inherent risks to the integrity of the supply chain. Some estimate that food fraud costs the world economy $49 billion annually and it has been estimated that about 10 percent of the food we buy is likely adulterated.

"The impact on any particular company can range from minor economic damage to the potential loss of economic viability of the organization," said Shannon Cooksey, vice president of science policy & regulatory affairs for GMA.  "GMA joined with Battelle, the world's largest non-profit R&D organization, to develop a better way of prioritizing the actual risks to specific commodity supply chains at any time, so that decision makers can best apply their resources to the vulnerabilities of greatest importance."

Importantly, EMAlert also provides manufacturers with an effective resource to assist with meeting the requirements of the FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule. Compliance dates for some businesses begin in September 2016 and requires covered facilities to establish and implement a food safety system that includes an evaluation of hazards that may be introduced for economic gain.

"EMAlert works by providing quantitative estimates of an organization's vulnerability to EMA for each commodity included in the analysis based on a combination of characteristic attributes and subject matter expert-based weightings", said Ashley Kubatko, principal research scientist at Battelle. "The approach focuses on predicting fraudulent tendencies similar to approaches used by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to predict terrorist tendencies and preferences."

By analyzing the attributes that contribute strongly to existing vulnerabilities, food safety and defense professionals may also identify alternative strategies, such as identifying suppliers from a more favorable region of the world or investing in research to develop identity tests for targeted commodities.

"Food manufacturers place great value on the consumer's trust in their brands," said Joseph Scimeca, PhD, Vice President, Global Regulatory & Scientific Affairs at Cargill.  "An issue that compromises the integrity of the food supply chain cannot only lose consumer trust and induce fear amongst the general public, it can represent a threat to public health. Being able to rapidly assess and understand EMA vulnerabilities so that mitigation actions can be prioritized and pursued is essential to protecting both public health and brand reputation."

About the Grocery Manufacturers Association
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is the trade organization representing the world's leading food, beverage and consumer products companies and associated partners. The U.S. food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry has facilities in 30,000 communities, generates $1 trillion in sales annually, contributes $415 billion in added value to the economy every year and is the single largest U.S. manufacturing industry with 1.7 million manufacturing workers. Founded in 1908, GMA has a primary focus on product safety, science-based public policies and industry initiatives that seek to empower people with the tools and information they need to make informed choices and lead healthier lives. For more information, visit gmaonline.org.

About Battelle
Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. For more information, visit www.battelle.org

Media Contacts


Katy Delaney
Director, Media Relations
Office: 1.614.424.7208
Email: delaneyk@battelle.org 


T.R. Massey

Senior Media Specialist
Office: 1.614.424.5544 
Email: masseytr@battelle.org