Fraud vulnerability in the Dutch milk supply chain: Assessments of farmers, processors and retailers

Y. Yang, W. Huisman, K.A. Hettinga, N. Liu, J. Heck, G.H. Schrijver, L. Gaiardoni, S.M. van Ruth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Food fraud surfaces regularly, anywhere in the world. Not only the companies involved in food fraud suffer from losses when food fraud occurs, other actors in the supply chain and branch of industry are often painted with the same brush. Milk has been a common fraud target in the past and, therefore, fraud is a concern for companies involved in milk production. In order to manage and prevent fraud in the milk supply chain, a good insight into the vulnerabilities of companies and their supply chain networks is pivotal. The aim of the current study is to understand (a) the fraud vulnerability of the general milk supply chain in the Netherlands and its tiers (farmers, processors, retailers) and (b) the differences in fraud vulnerability of farmers producing organic milk, green intermediate ‘pasture milk’ and conventional milk. The SSAFE food fraud assessment tool was slightly adapted to the milk supply chain and used to examine the fraud vulnerability of the 38 businesses of the three tiers in the study: 30 farmers, 4 milk processors and 4 retailers. Forty-eight fraud factors related to opportunities, motivations and control measures were examined. Subsequently, key fraud factors were identified. The three tier groups showed major similarities in motivation related fraud factors, and large differences in fraud opportunities and controls. There were also differences observed between the organic and non-organic farmers, with organic farmers being slightly more vulnerable than their non-organic counterparts. From this study it appears that the milk supply chain in the Netherlands is low to medium vulnerable to fraud but the key factors contributing to the vulnerability differ between the tiers (farmers, processors, retailers). Management of the fraud risks requires consideration of these differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-317
JournalFood Control
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Dairy supply chain
  • Fraud factor
  • Fraud mitigation
  • Milk adulteration
  • Organic farm
  • Vulnerability assessment


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