We just published two articles that are already contributing to advancing Food Fraud prevention. They are scholarly, peer-reviewed publications, which are especially helpful in supporting the development of government regulations and reports (scholarly journals meet the government need for “science-based” insight). These articles are already making an impact, as they are cited in a product fraud standard by the International Standards Organization (ISO). Both articles are published in an “open” journal so you can access them for free in the two links below.
The peer-review process is important not only for developing the theories, but also because the rigorous process supports the articles as credible. We had some excellent and important discussions and revelations during the intense review process. We would like to especially recognize Crime Science Journal editor Dr. Gloria Laycock, University College London, for her support and encouragement.
Beyond collaboration with the editors and reviewers, my co-authors and I are entrenched in the evolution of the research. By being directly involved with the theorists and practitioners we can get a better feel for what exactly is needed. This series of articles and the implementation in standards and certifications is an example of the value of this research immersion.
The first article is a research project studying the fraudsters, the fraud act and the fraudster organizational structures. The second article described a tool we developed to organize the often seemingly disconnected incident data. The first article helps establish the foundation, and the second helps us understand the data that will inform decision-making. Using these definitions and the incident clustering tool will help with the selection of efficient Food Fraud prevention countermeasures.
- Spink, Moyer, Park & Heinonen (2013). Defining the Types of Counterfeiters, Counterfeiting and Offender Organizations , Crime Science Journal, Volume 2, Number 8, pp 1-9 (http://www.crimesciencejournal.com/content/pdf/2193-7680-2-8.pdf). We realized that before we presented the incident clustering tool we needed to establish and define the core definitions. We were surprised to find that terms like “counterfeiting” and “counterfeiter” had not been the focus of an academic research article – many articles or reports just state definitions without any scholarly review. This article will help future researchers because instead of spending limited article space on justifying their interpretation of the definitions they can just cite this article. This actually helped us in our second article, where we could quickly review the terms but not go into the usual academic excruciating detail.
- Spink, Moyer, Park & Heinonen (2014). Development of a Product-Counterfeiting Incident Clustering Tool, Crime Science Journal, Volume 3, Number 3, PP. 1-8 (http://www.crimesciencejournal.com/content/pdf/s40163-014-0003-4.pdf). We had been trying to organize incident data and could not find a product fraud-related application directly addressed in a scholarly journal. We also didn’t find any standardized incident analysis model or tool. So we started with core crime science and Situational Crime Prevention (SCP) and adapted it to provide insight specifically for product fraud incidents. The tool has already been a great help and we’ve used it many times.
An example of the impact of these articles is with the International Standards Organization (ISO) projects. Both articles are already being quoted and referenced in standards and certifications. I am the Chair of the US Technical Advisory Group ISO Technical Committee 247 on Fraud Countermeasures and Controls. Co-author Dr. Hyeonho Park leads the Korean group. We’ve collaborated on many ISO projects, including a terminology standard and now a New Work Item Proposal (NWIP) based on these two articles. It was during our ISO work that we realized the need for a standard and a scholarly article, so the articles were really driven by the practitioner need.
I’m grateful to the other authors for all their work and patience through the process. I’d like to recognize them here:
- Douglas C. Moyer, Researcher – Food Fraud Initiative/ Adjunct Instructor – Counterfeit Medicines – Program in Public Health, Michigan State University. He has been a constant colleague and friend through the academic journey and he’s also been involved in the Food Fraud research just about from the start. He has 25-years with Ford Motor Company – most recently as Director of North American Packaging of service parts — before returning to academia to earn his PhD in Packaging Science (2013).
- Hyeonho Park, Director, Counter-Fraud & Counterfeiting Research Center, Yong In University, Korea. We hit it off the first time we met at the first ISO Technical Committee 247 global meeting in Santa Clara, California in 2009. We immediately began collaborating on research projects and publications. He visited us in 2013 and Doug visited Korea earlier 2014.
- Justin Heinonen, Independent Researcher. His contribution to this article occurred when he was still an Assistant Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at MSU. He has a very sound theoretical criminology foundation that was established during his Criminology PhD work at the University of Cincinnati under the tutelage of committee members John Eck and Bonnie Fisher.
Another related publication that is accepted and “In Press” is:
- Heinonen,J., Spink, J., & Wilson, JM, (In Press). When Crime Defies Classification: The Case of Product Counterfeiting as White Collar Crime, Security Journal, Volume 0, Number 0, pp. 00-00 (http://www.palgrave-journals.com/sj/index.html). The connection to Food Fraud is that it defines how the crime exhibits white collar crime characteristics in the planning (and prevention), and traditional crime in the act (humans consuming the products). This is an important – critical – point when considering how the crime is classified, which influences the government’s focus on enforcement, prosecution, and preventative countermeasures. A key is that white collar crimes are often perceived as “victimless crimes.” This article lays a firm, theoretically sound foundation that Food Fraud and product counterfeiting are hybrid crimes. This article will contribute to ongoing reviews such as the UK Elliott Review of Food Fraud, the EU/DG-SANCO-led resolution on Food Fraud, and the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment work in examining broad countermeasures. It will also contribute to the Food Fraud-related work of the Global Food Safety Initiative and possibly future reviews of Food Fraud by the US Congressional Research Service.
The Food Fraud and Product Fraud concepts are maturing. Peer-review articles are a key to the process. Beyond the journal being accessible through the biggest scholarly databases, we felt these were such important topics that we sought publication in “open” journals that are free for anyone to access. The more people who get full, free access to the articles, the more people who can use the concepts and the greater impact of the work. These open educational resources (OER) are an important growing focus for academia. The goal is not to just fill our Curriculum Vitae/ Resume… why should we lock away great research where no one can find it? Please stay engaged and asking questions. We will continue to listen and try to support your needs. JWS.