Food fraud can jeopardize the health and safety of consumers and put the reputation of a business at risk.
It can also be costly. Experts estimate that food fraud costs the global industry as much as $10-15 billion annually.
Food fraud is a collective term used to describe anything misleading about a product that is made for economic gain at the expense of consumer health, according to the Global Food Safety Initiative. This includes counterfeiting (or copies of popular food not produced with the same safety assurances), and grey market production and theft.
Food packaging companies are all too familiar with the grey market. A grey market situation happens when your products are being sold outside of your control. This does not necessarily mean your product is being sold illegally, but you won’t get a portion of the profits that are reaped.
Things get more serious when it comes to food safety. For example, if a food manufacturer discovers that its packaging is incorrect and contains the wrong information about ingredients found inside, this could become a life and death situation for consumers with allergies.
If someone looking to make a quick buck gets a hold of outdated packaging and decides to sell his own product inside under the guise of the national company, the reputation of that company becomes at risk, not to mention the safety of consumers.
Food packaging companies play an important role in keeping products off the grey market since they are often one of the final stops before a product heads to store shelves. One of the most important acts a packaging company can do to fight this kind of fraud is to ensure all branded packaging materials and products are properly disposed of when they cannot be sold on the market.
Here’s how packaging services can accomplish that while keeping consumers and the brands they package safe.
Certified Product Disposal Can Help
Certified product disposal ensures that goods are destroyed or disposed of legally. In other words, products you no longer want or that have been deemed unsafe are destroyed so they do not end up in the wrong hands.
When food products end up on the grey market, consumers may think they’re getting a good deal on them. In reality, the foods they are purchasing may be expired, tainted, damaged or contain ingredients not advertised on the packaging.
It’s also possible that the packaging is legitimate, but the product inside is not. This can occur when packaging is stolen and counterfeit food is placed inside.
If you’re a food packaging company, there are several scenarios in which a certified product disposal company can ensure the safe disposal of products:
- Food has been spoiled or has passed its expiration date before packaging could occur
- Misprints or incorrect information on food packaging may warrant the destruction and reprinting of packaging
- Food products that need packaged may arrive at your facility in larger boxes that feature a company’s logo, and those larger boxes must be discarded
- Food in your possession that is awaiting packaging and may be recalled for safety issues
- Food products that are awaiting packaging may have been court-ordered for disposal
In each of these situations, it’s important that the certified product disposal company authenticates the destruction process so that you have proof proper disposal has occurred.
How Does Certified Product Disposal Work?
Certified product disposal companies maintain tracking and security throughout the disposal process. They create a chain of custody that typically includes the following:
- A customized plan for the food items that you wish to dispose of or destroy
- Photographic and video evidence of destruction
- 24/7 surveillance at any storage yard facilities where your product is awaiting destruction
- All appropriate paperwork and permits, especially if food products are deemed hazardous or dangerous
- A Certificate of Destruction form for your records
Depending on the type of packaging and food products you need destroyed or disposed of, the certified product disposal company will transfer the items to the appropriate facility where they may be recycled, incinerated, discarded or go through an off-site wastewater treatment.
During the entire process, the certified product disposal company will maintain tracking and security to ensure you have peace of mind and to reduce the risk of fraud taking place.
What You Should Look For In Product Disposal
Putting a waste disposal process in place that reduces the risk for fraud starts with finding the best certified product destruction company near you.
While you can reach out to certified product disposal companies in your area, it’s important to ask for references from any company that you are considering. It’s a good idea to choose a company that has experience in food product and packaging disposal.
Here are six other qualities to look for when evaluating certified product disposal companies:
- Proper certifications: Make sure the company is properly certified, licensed and bonded.
- Detailed plan: A company should offer you a detailed plan that is tailored to your needs.
- Evidence of destruction: Don’t take their word for it. A company should provide photos and/or video of the destruction process and chain of custody.
- A second look: The best disposal companies offer to check your products for any hazardous ingredients or components.
- Help with forms: A company should help you complete any manifest forms that are required for the disposal of products.
- Final verification: The disposal company should provide you with a Certificate of Destruction form that you can keep for your records.
As a food packaging company, your reputation is at stake also. If the decisions you make impacts the reputation of your clients, you can be held accountable.
Certified product disposal ensures that any food and its packaging deemed no longer market-worthy does not end up in the hands of consumers.