Assessment of food fraud vulnerability in the spices chain: An explorative study

Assessment of food fraud vulnerability in the spices chain: An explorative study

Accepted Manuscript Assessment of food fraud vulnerability in the spices chain: an explorative study I.C.J. Silvis, S.M. van Ruth, H.J. van der Fels-...

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Accepted Manuscript Assessment of food fraud vulnerability in the spices chain: an explorative study

I.C.J. Silvis, S.M. van Ruth, H.J. van der Fels-Klerx, P.A. Luning PII:

S0956-7135(17)30262-1

DOI:

10.1016/j.foodcont.2017.05.019

Reference:

JFCO 5625

To appear in:

Food Control

Received Date:

30 March 2017

Revised Date:

12 May 2017

Accepted Date:

13 May 2017

Please cite this article as: I.C.J. Silvis, S.M. van Ruth, H.J. van der Fels-Klerx, P.A. Luning, Assessment of food fraud vulnerability in the spices chain: an explorative study, Food Control (2017), doi: 10.1016/j.foodcont.2017.05.019

This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication. As a service to our customers we are providing this early version of the manuscript. The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting, and review of the resulting proof before it is published in its final form. Please note that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain.

ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT Highlights

Fraud assessment reveals vulnerabilities due to opportunities, motivations, and controls Interviewed spice chain actors assigned food fraud vulnerability overall as medium

Key risks are simple adulteration, detection difficulty, price and market competition

Hard fraud mitigation vary considerably among interviewed spice actors

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Assessment of food fraud vulnerability in the spices chain: an explorative study

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I.C.J. Silvisab ([email protected]), S.M. van Ruthab* ([email protected]) (corresponding author), H.J. van der Fels-Klerxa ([email protected]), P.A. Luningb ([email protected])

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a RIKILT

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Wageningen University and Research, P.O. Box 230, 6700 AE Wageningen, The Netherlands

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b Food

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Quality and Design Group, Wageningen University and Research, P.O. Box 17 / bode 30 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands

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* Corresponding author

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Keywords: control measures, fraud, fraud mitigation, fraud indicators, motivations, opportunities, spices, vulnerability

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Abstract: Recent scandals have increased the need to strengthen companies’ ability to combat fraud within their own organizations and across their supply chain. Vulnerability assessments are a first step towards the inventory of fraud vulnerability and fraud mitigation plans. Spices are reported frequently in the international food fraud databases. In the current study the fraud vulnerabilities of various actors in the spices supply chain were examined. The SSAFE food fraud vulnerability assessment tool, which comprises of 50 indicators categorized in opportunities, motivations, and control measures was applied for getting insight into these fraud vulnerabilities. Eight companies participated in the study: a trader, two importers, two business to business companies, and three business-to- business/ business-to-consumer enterprises. The ease to adulterate spices combined with the complexity of fraud detection create considerable opportunities to commit fraud (high vulnerability), whereas opportunities associated with supply chain transparency and fraudulent incidences in the past were judged as medium vulnerable. The high competition level in the sector together with the high added value of spices are perceived as important economic drivers to commit fraud (high vulnerability). Cultural/behavioural factors such as ethical business culture were considered to contribute to the actual fraud vulnerability to a lesser extent. The implementation of both the hard and soft control measures varied widely among the actors. Hard fraud specific measures are merely lacking or are at a very basic level. For soft control measures of the own company, the scores were higher. From the results of the full assessments can be concluded that the various actors perceived the level of food fraud vulnerability in the spices chain as medium vulnerable.

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1. Introduction

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Food fraud scandals and issues in the last few years have reinforced the need to

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understand the vulnerability to fraud in food chains. The food industry is generally

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vulnerable to crime and the spice industry is mentioned as one of the most vulnerable

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ones, in addition to meat, fish, and olive oil industries (Morling & McNaughton, 2016).

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For example, in 2014, ground peanut shells were discovered in powdered cumin.

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This caused a major recall because of the allergenic properties of the peanut material,

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which is a severe risk to those that suffer from a peanut allergy (Sayers et al., 2016).

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Investigations revealed that fraudulent activity and not accidental contamination was

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behind the incident. The main motivation of the company was the economic benefit

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from the addition of cheaper bulk material to the premium quality cumin.

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Food fraud involves the deliberate substitution, addition, tampering or

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misrepresentation of food, food ingredients or food packaging, or false or misleading

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statements made about a product for economic gain (Spink & Moyer, 2011a). This

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definition has been widely adopted by various authors (e.g. Pustjens, Weesepoel, &

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van Ruth, 2016; Avery, 2014; GFSI, 2014), and by internationally acknowledged

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bodies such as the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). The addition of a cheaper

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ingredient is the most common type of economically motivated adulteration (EMA)

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(Capuano & van Ruth, 2012), which can result in thousands of euros from illegal

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profits (Moyer, DeVries, & Spink, 2016). Food fraud can be committed by any

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individual person or group involved in the whole supply chain, including suppliers,

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food manufacturers, retailers and importers (Johnson, 2014). Adulteration is the

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preparation of foods for sale by replacing valuable with less valuable ingredients or

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constituents.

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In general, herbs and spices represent an attractive category for potential offenders,

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because the products have a high value by weight and consumers have a limited

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capacity to detect adulteration (Schaarschmidt, 2016; Moore, Spink, & Lipp, 2012).

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Common authenticity issues associated with spices are the addition of lower value

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product foreign and product own material (Peter, 2011), which may include addition

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of unapproved ‘enhancements’, such as dyes (Haughey, Galvin-King, Ho, Bell, &

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Elliott, 2015) to cover up the extension. Ground spices are particularly prone to

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adulteration, because the milling or grinding step changes the shape of both the

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spice and adulterant to a powder, which makes it difficult to detect adulterants in the

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final product.

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Although it is the governments’ responsibility to set clear legal requirements it is the

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responsibility of the industry to mitigate food fraud risks (Spink & Moyer, 2011b).

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However, such measures are not yet widely adopted in current food safety

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management systems. In the past few years, several initiatives to analyse, measure

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and/or mitigate food fraud risks have been developed because of the raised

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awareness. For example, the U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention (USP) developed the

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USP tool to assist food industries and regulators in developing and applying

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preventive management systems to identify the most vulnerable ingredients within

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their supply chains and to choose valid situation-specific mitigation measures (USP,

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2014). Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) established a tool for the purpose

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of assuring the integrity of brand and safety of food products (Kerney, 2010).

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Moreover, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) version 7, a private food safety

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standard, added a module on food fraud and provides food companies guidance on

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how to do a vulnerability assessment (BRC, 2015). Furthermore, SSAFE (2016) has

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published a science-based food fraud vulnerability self-assessment tool (SSAFE

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FFVA tool), which is based on the routine activities theory (Cohen & Felson, 2016). It

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consists of 50 questions which consider the three theory’s key elements:

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opportunities (suitable target), motivations (motivated offender), and control

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measures, the scientific background has been reported by van Ruth, Huisman, and

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Luning (2017).

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In principle, the SSAFE FFVA tool is developed as a basis for companies to self-

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assess their business, but it can also be used to compare companies (multiple

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respondents) and to analyse a specific chain.

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The aim of the current study is to get insight in potential fraud vulnerabilities of

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various actors in the spices supply chain by applying this new tool.

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2. Materials and methods

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2.1. The Food Fraud Vulnerability Assessment (FFVA) approach

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2.1.1.Theoretical aspects of the FFVA

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The principal structure of the FFVA is based on the routine activities theory (Cohen &

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Felson, 2016) and the “design rules” as used in the development of diagnostic tools

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for Food Safety Management System (FSMS) assessment (Kirezieva, Jacxsens,

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Uyttendaele, Van Boekel, & Luning, 2013; Luning et al., 2009; Luning, Bango,

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Kussaga, Rovira, & Marcelis, 2008). The routine activities theory defines the three

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key elements leading to crime: a suitable target, a motivated offender, and the

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absence of guardianship. These key elements were modified to suit food fraud and

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are the centre of the FFVA: i.e. opportunities, motivations and control measures. The

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“design rules” include focus on key factors/activities, identify indicators to analyse

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crucial aspects of these factors/activities, formulate questions linked to the indicators,

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and develop grids to enable a differentiated assessment. Grids depict typical

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descriptions that reflect for example, a high, medium, or low risk situation for the

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particular factor/activity. The situations are linked to a score system to enable the

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development of spider web diagrams to visualise the profiles (Luning et al., 2011;

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Sampers et al., 2010). The overall principle of the FFVA tool is reflected in the

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formula: opportunities x motivations x control measures = actual fraud vulnerability.

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So, more opportunities and motivations will increase fraud vulnerability, whereas

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control measures can counteract these vulnerabilities. The terms “risk” and

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“vulnerability” are used interchangeably and are therefore defined explicitly. The

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following definition of vulnerability applies and originate from USA food regulations

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(DHS, 2015): “A physical feature or operational attribute that renders an entity open

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to exploitation or susceptible to a given hazard.”

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The tool was tested, discussed and adapted based on multiple workshops in The

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Netherlands (Zaandam), USA (Washington), and Singapore (Singapore) with

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representatives of global food industry actors.

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2.1.2. Practical aspects of the FFVA

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The FFVA consists of 50 indicators (Table 1) each with a related question and

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corresponding assessment grid to enable companies to judge their actual situation

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with respect to the key risk factors related to opportunities, motivations, and control

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measures, which provide an overall profile of their fraud vulnerability. Potential

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opportunities, motivations, and control measures for food fraud are assessed related

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to both the internal organization and the external environment of the company. The

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environment consists of multiple levels: i.e. the company, the direct suppliers and

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customers, the industry segment, and the national and/or international environment.

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The various environmental levels are all considered in the FFVA.

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Opportunities related fraud factors of raw material and final product include

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indicators, such as the complexity of adulterating spices and whether the technology

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to adulterate is common knowledge or complex. In addition to these technical

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indicators, there are indicators to analyse opportunities in time and space, such as

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the accessibility to materials in production and the transparency of the network. The

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questions and answers have the following template. The question linked to the

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indicator “complexity of adulteration” reads: “Is it simple or complex to adulterate the

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raw material”? The assumption is that easy alteration of the composition of raw

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materials provides opportunities for potential offenders to commit fraud. Three

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answer options are provided, one of which need to be selected. Low vulnerability

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answer option 1 is: “Composition of the materials cannot be modified and products

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can only be replaced, i.e. it concerns large objects such as fruit”. Medium

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vulnerability answer option 2 is: “Composition of the raw materials can be modified by

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mixing with low-quality product-own material or foreign material, i.e. as is feasible

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with grinded products (e.g. powders, grinded beef, etc.)” and high vulnerability

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answer option 3 is: “Composition of the raw materials can be modified by mixing with

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low-quality or foreign material (e.g. powders, ground meat, etc.) and by altering

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valuable food components (e.g. protein content)”.

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Motivations related fraud factors concern economic aspects as well as cultural and

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behavioural facets. For instance, prices, supply and demand, and value-adding

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attributes of the materials are important economic factors, as well as the level of

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competition in the sector and the economic health of the business. Behaviour and

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culture related aspects include for instance business strategy, ethical business

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culture, and corruption level of the country in which the company and/or supplier is

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based. These factors can enhance fraudsters’ motivations to commit fraud.

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The control measures are divided in soft and hard control ones. Hard control

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measures are well observable and can be tested (Drechsler, Halff, Huisman, & Post,

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2012). They affect the ‘hard’ aspects of an organization such as planning, control,

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tasks and responsibilities. Soft controls are non-tangible behaviour influential factors

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in an organization and focuses on e.g. personality of employees and behaviour. The

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soft control measures can influence motives, loyalty, integrity, inspiration, norms and

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values of employees and are on a more personal level. A subdivision is provided for

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the environmental layers, i.e. the internal hard and soft controls, and the external

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controls at the level of the direct suppliers/customers and the wider (inter) national

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environment including law enforcement.

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2.2. Case study design: the spices chain network

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2.2.1. Selection and characteristics of respondents

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Eight companies, members of the European Spices Association (ESA), participated

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in the study. Seven were based in the Netherlands and one in Germany. Six

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interviews were conducted face-to-face and two assessments were carried out by

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online survey. The characteristics of the companies and the participants are listed in

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Table 2. Altogether, the eight companies represent trader, importer, business-to-

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business enterprises (b2b), and business to business/business-to-consumers

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enterprises (b2b/b2c) in the spices chain. Some of their processing activities overlap,

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but the spices they trade or produce may differ.

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2.2.2. The vulnerability assessments

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The original questions in English were translated into Dutch, and some questions

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were adjusted to spices. For example, the word ‘raw material’ in the survey was

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substituted with ‘spice’. A questionnaire was sent by e-mail one week prior to the

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interview to prepare respondents for the face-to-face interview. They had time to

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consult additional documents and ask experts in their organization about certain

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questions. This was necessary for the interviews to ease the conversation with the

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representatives of the spice companies. The interviewer asked the 50 questions one

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by one. The interviewer interpreted the answers and allocated the answer to one of

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the options in the grid, which was discussed with the respondent. The duration of the

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interview was between 1.5 and 2 hours. The first author performed the face-to-face

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interviews and all were voice recorded with permission of the respondents. The

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conversations were replayed for data analysis.

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2.2.3. Data analysis

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After the interview was completed, the options were transformed to the score system,

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to enable a frequency analysis. A high vulnerability situation for the opportunities and

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motivations corresponds to a score of 3 (e.g. the knowledge required for adulteration

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is generally available). A medium vulnerability situation obtains a score of 2 (e.g.

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advanced technologies, methods, facilities and knowledge are required to adulterate

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the raw materials) and a low vulnerability situation corresponds to a score 1 (i.e.

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technologies and/or methods to adulterate the raw materials are neither available,

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known, or reported). For the control measures, a score of 1 is assigned to high

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vulnerability situation (i.e. no specific fraud focus in control), a score of 2 to a medium

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vulnerability situation (e.g. some basic/simple fraud related measures in place), and 3

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to answers linked to a low vulnerability situation (e.g. fraud dedicated measures in

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place). For all 50 questions, the most frequently given answer (i.e. the mode) to a

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certain situation (and corresponding score) was determined.

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3. Results and discussion

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3.1. Overall food fraud vulnerability profiles

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The results of the FFVA are presented in the spider web diagrams in Fig. 1 showing

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the scores for the most frequently given (mode) answers for each indicator. The

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indicators are grouped per category, “opportunities”, “motivations” and “control

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measures”. The dashed line shows the second score with the highest frequency, in

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case of identical frequencies for two answers (ties). A larger surface corresponds

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with a higher fraud vulnerability. For the control measures, the larger the surface area,

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the more measures are in place and the more fraud specific/dedicated they are.

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Overall, the respondents scored between 2-3 (medium to high vulnerability) for the

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opportunities, and scored between 1-2 (low to medium) for the motivations. For the

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control measures mean scores distributed widely from 1 to 3. Eleven indicators out of

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19 scored 1 (high vulnerability, low level of control) indicating that fraud specific

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measures are merely lacking or are at a very basic level. For soft control measures of

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the own company, the scores were higher (low vulnerability, high level of control).

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3.2. Food fraud profiles of individual actors

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The individual scores for all indicators and actors are presented in Table 3. The

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scores for the low, medium, and high vulnerability situations for the opportunities,

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motivations, and control measures related indicators are coloured green, orange, and

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red respectively. The actors in this case study operated independently from each

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other and the importers were not the suppliers of the other actors presented in the

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table.

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3.2.1. Opportunities- related fraud factors

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Technical opportunities

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All the respondents rated the technical opportunities (indicator 1-5) as medium to

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high vulnerability,demonstrated with red (high vulnerable) and orange (medium

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vulnerable) per actor in the table. This is in line with the fact that spices are

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commonly easy to adulterate when they are milled (Everstine, Spink, & Kennedy,

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2013). The technology required for adulteration is generally available and is not

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complex. When the spices are milled with a potential adulterant, the shape is similar

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and detection of adulterant material requires advanced analytical techniques

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(Sasikumar, Swetha, Parvathy, & Sheeja, 2016). One of the reasons why companies

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buy spices from their suppliers in their whole form (not milled) is because they wish to

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ensure that the material is free from adulterants. To the “complexity of counterfeiting”

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indicators, (indicators 6-7) different scores were assigned. Only b2b/b2c (h)

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answered with a score 1 (low vulnerability). However, counterfeiting is a full imitation

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of the genuine product passed off deceptively as genuine. This kind of full

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replacement of spices with other (non) plant-based material is not an issue, only

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partial replacement and mixing.

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Opportunities in time and space

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“Production lines/processing activities” (indicator 8) scored 1 (low vulnerability) for all

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companies, except from trader (a) (medium vulnerable) but all companies have

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specific requirements in terms of food defence. The accessibility should be strictly

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authorised to particular persons to prevent intentionally contamination by people who

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want to do harm (Guide to developing a food defence plan for Food Processing

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Plants, 2008). All participants mentioned that their facilities allow little interference

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and modification between batches and accessibility for unauthorised personnel

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during day and night is not possible. “Transparency chain network” (indicator 9),

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scored 2 (medium vulnerability) by most respondents, because they consider their

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chain to some extent transparent. However, trader(a) and importer(b) – and (c) at the

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beginning of the chain assigned score 3 (high vulnerability), because they perceive

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their supply chain as not being transparent. Transparency in the chain is important,

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because without visibility into the supply chains and due to the dispersed nature of

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today’s supply chains, there are multiple opportunities to commit fraud (Manning &

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Soon, 2014). Supply chain transparency cannot be easily achieved, because it

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requires a solid foundation and continuous improvement over time (Linich, 2014).

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According to Linich (2014), a four-step plan could support in mitigating risks on fraud

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due to lack of chain transparency. This plan includes identifying and prioritizing risks;

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visualizing risks; using transparency levers to close information gaps and managing

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and monitoring resulting information. With respect to “Fraudulent incidences in past”

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(indicators 10-11), only one company b2b (d) assigned a score 1 (low vulnerability).

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All other respondents assigned a score 2 (medium vulnerability), because they

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acknowledged fraudulent incidences that occurred in the past, such as the addition of

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the harmful adulterations with the forbidden colorant Sudan red in capsicum products

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and the peanut-shell in cumin case. Other examples of less harmful adulterations are

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low quality pepper and various kinds of foreign matter in whole or ground pepper,

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and the removal of essential oil in nutmeg (Peter, 2011).

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3.2.2. Motivations-related fraud factors

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Economic drivers

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“Supply and pricing raw materials” (indicator 12) scored 3. It is considered as highly

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vulnerable, because the prices of spices by weight are high compared to other food

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materials and they can vary considerably. It is a seasonal product and the quality is

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affected by multiple factors such as climate, harvesting and large variation is

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common (Hübert, Tiebe, & Banach, 2016). Spices also contain valuable contents

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such as volatile oils, which are important value determinants. Measuring the volatile

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oil (V/O) helps to identify whether the spice has been adulterated, such as addition of

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foreign materials; addition of low quality materials or addition de-oiled or defatted

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material (spent). Other more spice specific compounds are piperine in black pepper

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and safranol in saffron (Peter, 2011).The indicator 13 “Valuable components or

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attributes raw materials” scored 3 (high vulnerability) for all actors, because the value

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of the spices is largely determined by the purity. Absence of impurities is a measure

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of the amount of foreign and extraneous matter, for example insect contamination,

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but also product foreign adulterants. Furthermore, geographical origin determines the

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value of spices as well as the type of production system. Organic spices will be

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dearer than spices from the conventional production. For indicator 31”price

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assymetries”, different scores were given because this is dependent on the type of

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spice the company trades.

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Overall, the level of competition in the spices industry is high (indicator 30), which is

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reflected by the fact that the respondents assigned a score 2 or 3 (medium and high

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vulnerability). The high competition originates from multiple reasons. There is an

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increase in scarcity of raw materials and suppliers have to comply with strict buyer

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requirements such as, quality, food safety, and traceability (Manning & Soon, 2014).

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Moreover, the market entry requirements are becoming stricter as a result of

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technological advances and food safety scandals. These trends and the rising prices

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are changing the market place (CBI 2015). Even though the competition is high, the

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respondents rated their “economic conditions own company” (indicator 14) with 1 or 2

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(low and medium vulnerability). The economic condition of their suppliers is judged

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as medium vulnerability, except for trader (a), who mentioned that his supplier are

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primitive farmers and therefore highly vulnerable. The spice sector as a whole it is

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rated as medium vulnerable as well (indicators 20, 26).

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Culture and behaviour

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“Organizational strategy own company” (indicator 15) and “ethical business culture

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own company” (indicator 16) were assigned a score 1 (low vulnerability). This is due

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to the fact that the companies interviewed strive for long-term financial goals and

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sustainable relationships with their suppliers. However, for the actors in their

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environmental layer, they assigned a score 1 (low vulnerability) and 2 (medium

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vulnerability), i.e. for the ethical business culture of the suppliers and sector

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(indicators 21, 22, 28). None of the companies was involved in criminal offences

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(indicator 17) with a score 1 (low vulnerability), but interestingly, for the criminal

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offences of their suppliers and customers (indicators 23, 24, 27) they all assigned a

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score 2 (medium vulnerability) as they lack concise information. Spice companies

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commonly operate in and with countries in which the corruption level is high (indicator

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18 and 25)but whether this is a potential high risk, is dependent on the spice and

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origin of the spicethe company trades with. More than half of European imports

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come from developing countries (97% of total imported volume) (CBI: Trends: Spices

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and Herbs in Europe, 2016). These countries are rated as highly corrupt, based on

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the Corruption Perception Index, from “Transparency International” (Corruption

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Perceptions Index 2015, 2016). The spice companies give different scores to

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indicator 29. Criminal offences occurred in the chain according to 5 respondents, but

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importer (c), b2b (d) and b2b/b2c (h) gave answer 1 ( low vulnerability).

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3.2.3. Control measures related risk factors

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Hard control measures

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Measures dedicated to fraud control are not common in the spice industry. “Fraud

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monitoring system raw materials” (indicator 32) scores range from 1 to 3. The

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medium and large size companies have raw material controls with fraud monitoring,

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such as b2b(e),b2b/b2c(f) –and (h) score 3 (low vulnerability), whereas the small

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companies such as trader(a) and importer(b) score 1 (high vulnerability), because

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they do not have the money and resources to build a fraud mitigation plan. This is

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also another explanation of why they show more often high vulnerability in their

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scores. . According to Professor Elliot from Queens University Belfast - who reviewed

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the horse meat incident and made recommendations tackling fraud in the Elliot

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Review for the UK Food Standards Agency - said in an interview with (Levitt, 2016)

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that smaller businesses do not have the resources to map out dangers of food fraud

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in their supply chain and says bigger companies should help smaller ones to

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safeguard consumers. When it comes to adulterations, the difficulty is that offenders

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are seeking for adulterants that have not been reported so far. Therefore, companies

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are not conscious of what to find in their product and how to determine the presence

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of undeclared substances. “Fraud monitoring system final products” and “Systematics

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and autonomy of verification of fraud monitoring system” (indicator 34, 33, 35),

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scored 1 (high vulnerability) for most respondents. However, B2b(d) is the exception

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and has a more dedicated final product fraud monitoring system (low vulnerability).

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Most other companies believe that a final product monitoring system is irrelevant,

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because it suggests that you doubt the integrity of your product if such a system is in

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place. This is in agreement with the alien conspiracy theory, which describes that

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crime is often not perceived as part of the society/environment and shaped by the

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society itself, but rather a problem of “outsiders” that threaten society (Kleemans,

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2013). The medium- and large size companies have a comprehensive information

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system including information on mass balance flows. The same was mentioned for

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their tracking and tracing system (low vulnerability) (indicators 36, 37). Mass balance

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traceability is a pre-requisite within the food supply chain for ensuring extrinsic quality

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(Manning & Soon, 2014). The elementary conditions in which suppliers usually

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operate, explain the dominant score 1 (high vulnerability) for the indicators “Fraud

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control system supplier”, ”Mass balance control supplier” and “Tracking and tracing

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system supplier” (indicators 42, 43, 44). Especially the larger b2b/b2c companies

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have a fraud contingency plan in place when they suspect fraudulent products of

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suppliers (indicator 50). The plan involves breach of contract with the supplier.

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Soft controls

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“Ethical code of conduct own company” (indicator 39) was assigned score 3 (low

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vulnerability) except for trader(a) (small company), which assigned score 1 (high

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vulnerability). When present, code-of-conduct rules are advertised in the organisation

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via brochures and trainings. Scores 1 and 3 (high and low vulnerability) were

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assigned to “Integrity screening own employees” (indicator 38). A few companies

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questioned if integrity screening is allowed in terms of privacy regulations. “Whistle

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blowing own company” (indicator 40), scores varied from 1 to 3 (high, medium and

364

low vulnerability). When employees suspect unethical behaviour and malpractices,

16

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they should be able to report this to a confidential mediator. A whistle blowing system

366

protects those that accuse. For the companies who have a system, it is usually a

367

dependent person (medium vulnerability). B2b(e) has an independent person (low

368

vulnerability).

369

Food fraud is an issue widely emphasized by governmental and non-governmental

370

institutions that results in strict requirements to which the buyer has to conform (CBI:

371

Trends: Spices and Herbs in Europe, 2016). The indicator (number 41) “Contractual

372

requirements supplier”, which is related to this topic, got a score 3 (low vulnerability)

373

by all the companies with exception of trader(a). For “Social control chain network”

374

(indicator 45) score 2 was assigned (medium vulnerability), which means the

375

enterprises perceive medium social control in the spice chain. Companies indicated

376

that during the European Spice Association (ESA) meetings, companies are warned

377

about fraud and an “adulteration awareness document” has been distributed (ESA,

378

2015).

379

The control measures “Fraud control industry”, “Specificity national food policy” and

380

“Law enforcement chain network” (indicators 46-49) scored 1 (high vulnerability).

381

Even though the ESA provides an adulteration awareness document, there is control

382

by auditing parties on a limited scale. The reason for this is that the interest in

383

tackling food fraud at that level has only recently developed. The interviewees

384

perceived that laws and policies that address particular fraud issues are not actively

385

enforced in their country.

386 387 388 389

3.3. Methodology consideration The SSAFE tool is based on the routine activities theory and is operationalised in grids with qualitative descriptions and assigned scores to enable a differentiated

17

ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT 390

assessment of the vulnerability inherent to opportunities, motivations, and control

391

measures to mitigate fraud. The outcome of the assessment should be used

392

qualitatively because data uncertainty is common in early stage assessment of

393

vulnerabilities, as emphasized by John Spink who takes COSO concepts into

394

consideration (Spink, Moyer, & Speier-Pero, 2016). The Committee of Sponsoring

395

Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) is an initiative of five private

396

sector organizations (i.e. the institute of internal auditors) and develops frameworks

397

and guidance on enterprise risk management, internal control and fraud deterrence.

398

Furthermore, the tool is initially designed as a self-assessment tool for companies.

399

However, in this research the companies filled in the survey or discussed it in the

400

interview. It is commonly known that in face-to-face interviews, the chance on social

401

desirable answering is high (Bradburn, Sudman, & Wansink, 2004). Especially for

402

sensitive topics as fraud, respondents might have the tendency to answer according

403

to societal norms and answers that will be best valued by the interviewer (Goffman &

404

Edinburgh Social, 1958). However, the decisions—and the data—must be justifiable.

405 406

4. Conclusions and outlook

407 408

The current assessment of the spices chain reveals that the vulnerability to fraud in

409

the chain is overall perceived as medium vulnerable by the various respondents.

410

Technical opportunities and economic drivers scored high vulnerability across the

411

board, opportunities in time and place as well as culture and behaviour related

412

motivations scored medium vulnerable. The control measures varied widely and

413

especially the smaller sized companies in this study lacked control measures. This

414

kind of fraud vulnerability studies allow comparison of the vulnerability of different

18

ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT 415

supply chains. Furthermore, the fraud vulnerability assessments of individual actors

416

are a solid base for further development of the companies’ fraud mitigation plans.

417 418 419 420

Acknowledgements

421

This research was executed in the framework of the EU-project SPICED (Grant

422

Agreement: 312631) with the financial support from the 7th Framework Programme

423

of the European Union, European Commission - Directorate-General Enterprise &

424

Industry. This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the European

425

Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the

426

information contained therein. Furthermore, authors acknowledge co-financing of the

427

project through the ‘Kennisbasis’ funding programme by the Ministry of Economic

428

Affairs of the Netherlands and financial support of the PhD project by Intertaste, the

429

Netherlands. Authors are grateful to the eight companies for their participation in the

430

assessment

431

19

ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT Table 1. Indicators for the three key elements opportunities, motivations, and control measures and their numbering used in the food fraud vulnerability assessment Opportunities Motivations Control measures 1. Complexity of 12. Supply and pricing raw 31. Price asymmetries adulteration raw materials materials 2. Availability technology 13. Valuable components or 32. Fraud monitoring and knowledge to attributes raw materials system raw materials adulterate raw materials 3. Detectability 14. Economic conditions 33. Verification of fraud adulteration raw materials own company mon. system raw materials 4. Availability technology 15. Organizational strategy 34. Fraud monitoring and knowledge to own company system final products adulterate final products 5. Detectability 16. Ethical business culture 35. Verification of fraud adulteration final products own company monitoring system final products 6. Complexity of 17. Criminal offences own 36. Information system counterfeiting company own company 7. Detectability of 18. Corruption level country 37. Tracking and tracing counterfeiting own company system own company 8. Production lines/ 19. Financial strains 38. Integrity screening processing activities supplier own employees 9. Transparency chain 20. Economic conditions 39. Ethical code of network supplier conduct own company 10. Historical evidence 21. Organizational strategy 40. Whistle blowing own fraud raw materials supplier company 11. Historical evidence 22. Ethical business culture 41. Contractual fraud final products supplier requirements supplier 23. Criminal offences 42. Fraud control system supplier supplier 24. Victimization of supplier 43. Mass balance control. supplier 25. Corruption level country 44. Tracking and tracing supplier system supplier 26. Economic conditions 45. Social control chain sector network 27. Criminal offences 46. Fraud control industry customer 28. Ethical business culture 47. National food policy sector 29. Historical evidence 48. Law enforcement branch of industry local chain 30. Level of competition in 49. Law enforcement sector chain network 50. Fraud contingency plan 432

20

ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT 433

Table 2.

434

Characteristics of the interviewed enterprises and people Company/

Company Interviewees

Business

size

Trader(a)

small

Head

Importer(b)

small

Head

Importer(c)

large

Vice-president

B2B(d)

medium

Quality manager

B2B(e)

medium

Spices flavourist & MVO coordinator

B2B/B2C(f)

large

Strategic buyer and head of customer quality

B2B/B2C(g) large

Quality manager

B2B/B2C(h) large

Quality manager and director of sustainability

435 436

21

ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT 437

Table 3

438

Fraud factors inherent to opportunities, motivations, and control measures. The

439

scores for the indicators and actors are presented in Table 2, categorized per actor.

440

“b2b” stands for business-to-business and “b2b/b2c” for a combination of a business-

441

to-business and business-to- consumer enterprise. The mode scores for the low,

442

medium, and high vulnerability situations for the opportunities, motivations, and

443

control measures related indicators are coloured green, orange, and red respectively. Opportunities-related fraud factors

Indicator

(a) trader

(b) importer

(c) importer

(d) b2b

(e) b2b

(f) b2b/b2c

(g) b2b/b2c

Technical Complexity of adulteration Availability technology and knowledge to adulterate Complexity counterfeiting

1,3 2,4,5 6,7

In time and space Production lines /processing activities

8

Transparency chain network

9

Fraudulent incidences in past

10,11

Motivations-related fraud factors Economic drivers Supply & pricing materials Valuable components or attributes raw materials

12

Price asymmetries

31

Level of competition in sector

30

Economic conditions own company

14

Economic condition supplier

20

Economic conditions sector

26

13

Culture and behaviour Organizational strategy own company

15

Organizational strategy supplier

21

Ethical business culture own company

16

Ethical business culture supplier

22

Ethical business culture sector

28

Criminal offences own company

17

Criminal offences supplier

23

Criminal offences customer

27

Corruption level country own company

18

Corruption level country supplier

25

22

(h) b2b/b2c

ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT Historical evidence branch of history

29

Victimization of supplier

24

Control measures related factors Hard control measures Fraud monitoring system raw materials

32

Fraud monitoring system final products

34

Fraud control system supplier Systematics and autonomy of verification of fraud monitoring system

42 33,35

Information system own company

36

Mass balance control supplier Tracking and tracing system own company

43

Tracking and tracing system supplier

44

Fraud contingency plan

50

37

Soft control measures Ethical code of conduct own company

39

Integrity screening own employees

38

Whistle blowing own company

40

Contractual requirements supplier

41

Social control network

45

Fraud control industry

46

Specificity national food policy Law enforcement chain network

47, 48 49

444 445

23

ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT 446

447 448

Fig. 1

449

Spider web diagrams for opportunities (indicator 1-11), motivations (indicator 12-30),

450

and control measures (indicator 31-50) for scores with highest frequencies

451

(continuous line). In case of identical frequencies for two answers (ties), the second

452

score with highest frequency is presented as well (dashed line). Numbers with

453

corresponding indicators are listed in Table 1.

454

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ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT 455

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