US President Abraham Lincoln once said: ‘You can fool all people some of the time and some people all the time. But you can never fool all people all the time.’ I was reminded of that quote when I recently read an article about the cheating affair at Volkswagen.
Johan den Hartog
Managing Director, GMP+ International
The car maker was busted in 2015 because software in the cars generated misleading results during emission tests. When the scandal came to light, Volkswagen had been deliberately cheating for nearly a decade - even though the company had already received warnings from various sides to watch its steps.
Indeed, Volkswagen managed for a long time to fool the authorities. But as Lincoln rightly pointed out, that cannot be sustained. And that’s a good thing.
Unfortunately, fraud also occurs in the feed sector. The GMP+ Feed Certification scheme creates a barrier against unsafe production and working methods, but never forms an absolute guarantee against fraud. That is why we put energy into awareness and alertness around the theme of fraud, for example through a manual on our website.
When we think of fraudsters, we tend to think of cunning entrepreneurs who consciously manipulate for financial gain. But let's not forget about the other type either: the "ordinary" entrepreneur who, under pressure of time or finances, gradually adopts less strict standards.
Certain circumstances can lead to more risky behavior. Maybe at your own company, maybe at your suppliers. A pandemic as we are now experiencing can put companies in trouble. When things get really stressful, we all tend to push the boundaries.
Let's be careful not to fall into that trap ourselves. Especially in these unusual circumstances, be alert to what is happening within your own company and your suppliers. Whoever pushes the boundaries will automatically pass it once. Sooner or later this will come out. With all the resulting financial and reputational damage - for yourself and the sector as a whole.
More importantly, fraud - let's not ignore it - is morally reprehensible. The food and feed sector exists by virtue of the trust of your customers and ultimately the consumer. The choices we make have a direct effect on animal and human health. So let's keep ourselves and each other focused and take our responsibility. Honesty is the best policy.