New World Report Unveils the 2022 Winners of the North Carolina Business Awards

North Carolina Business Awards 2022

United States, 2022 – New World Report has announced the winners of the inaugural North Carolina Business Awards.

While the last couple of years have heralded immense difficulties for businesses of all sizes across the US, 2022 has proven to be significantly less challenging, allowing for growth and a return to some semblance of normality. North Carolinian businesses have capitalized on this period more than most, showcasing an incredible ability to adapt and evolve to the changing environment.

The North Carolina Business Awards have aimed to honor those whose efforts have yielded outstanding products and services for the diverse clientele found across the region. Awards Coordinator Holly Blackwood took a moment to speak on the achievements of those recognized. “The North Carolina Business Awards have proven to be an incredible endeavor due to the amazing businesses it ventured to recognize, shedding light on companies across the nation. I offer a sincere congratulations to all of those acknowledged in this program and hope you all have a fantastic year ahead.”

To learn more about our award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the New World Report website (https://www.thenewworldreport.com/awards/north-carolina-business-awards/) where you can access the winners supplement.

 

ENDS

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

 

About New World Report

New World Report is an insightful and informative business news platform providing readers throughout the Americas with business advice to aid business progress, success stories aimed to inspire and trends and innovations to support business growth and continuity. Born out of the merge of U.S. Business News and Latin America News, The New World Report has a dedicated website which is updated daily with content and each month a newsletter is circulated to more than 100,000 businesses and professionals from across the region.

New World Report is brought to you by AI Global Media. AI Global Media is a digital media group launched in 2010 with 12 brands in its portfolio. The group has in excess of 600,000 pageviews across its brand websites per month (*accurate as of June 2020) and circulates newsletters and special edition magazines to more than 1.6m recipients across various walks of life.

 

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media (https://www.aiglobalmedialtd.com/) has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 12 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

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Most Educational Music Lesson Provider 2022

Close up of hands playing the piano in the morning

Based in High Point, North Carolina, SetApart Music guides its students on a voyage of discovery. Believing that each person’s talent is unique, the team encourages and guides musicians of all ages to find and develop an avenue to display that talent. We speak to SetApart Music Founder, Scott Johnson, to find out more.

Deciding to learn an instrument is something that most of us will have thought about. Maybe thinking about it was all you did. And perhaps the thought is still there at the back of your mind. Or maybe you started to learn but then gave up when the going got tough or you didn’t have enough time to practice.

Learning to master an instrument is not for the faint-hearted, it takes a lot of time and effort. Getting the right help and encouragement can be the difference between leaving that instrument-case gathering dust in the attic or stepping out onto the stage of an auditorium.

‘Nurturing Talent, Inspiring Dreams’ is the mission of music education company, SetApart Music. The company works with students from 4 years upwards, providing a variety of courses including guitar, piano, band instruments, vocals, and song writing.

Scott explains, “We equip our students with real-world music skills. This enables them to take part in community bands, theatrical auditions and plays, all-county and state instrument try-outs, and worship services. We also teach how to prepare online media material for professional performances on social platforms.”

The company thrives on its ability to build personal relationships with its students. Understanding the interests and influences of each client is essential. It’s the foundation that SetApart Music uses to plan its goal-based lessons. The aim is to take each client from their current skill level to new heights of accomplishment. Scott tells us, “We’re here to help our clients explore their talents. Talent needs nurturing. It takes time.

“We’re very method based. It is important to us to make sure each client knows how to practice and approach music at all levels. The simplest techniques, like counting, naming notes and rhythms, singing lyrics, and breathing can bring joy to everyday learning. It’s not what you practice, it’s how you practice.”

Dedication, discipline, and community are all wonderful tools to inspire others. Teachers and mentors at SetApart Music help students create and stick to a plan for their studies as well as advise them on how to carve out that precious practice time.

Sharing music is vital to being able to progress in confidence. Playing in a group, band, or community is a great way to give talent a place to thrive. SetApart Music helps create those opportunities for its students. The team know the path to success is not always a smooth one, “It gets harder before it gets better. As long as you have someone you trust guiding and encouraging you, you’ll get there. It’s not how you start – it’s how you finish!” says Scott.

The team at SetApart Music are hand-picked for their talent not only as musicians but for their potential as teachers too. Scott explains, “When we’re interested in working with someone, we show them what they can achieve, not just what they can help us with. That gets them to sit up and take notice.

“No one is the best when they first start at a job, at any level. But with the right training and encouragement, they can become the best person for each client very quickly. Recognising someone’s potential is one of the greatest things you can do for them. But helping them hone their skills and taking a risk on them in faith will pay off every time.”

Currently, SetApart Music holds up to 5 recitals a year as well as summer camps and open mic events. The company is actively seeking to partner with more local businesses, churches, and music event providers to give students access to more community-based music opportunities.

Looking to the future, Scott would love to have two or three more bases in the region. His vision further down the line is to own a performance venue for up-and-coming talent and to provide after-school programs to low-income families.

Here’s a final word from Scott on receiving the award, “Thank you for this honour. We do not take it or our responsibility to our community lightly. Thank you for the reach that your help will give us.”

 

For business inquiries, contact Scott Johnson at SetApart Music via  https://setapartmusic.com.

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International SEO: A Brief Guide

Search engine optimisation or SEO is a vital component of any digital marketing strategy. After all, it can create the online exposure that a brand or company needs to attract a higher volume of organic web traffic, leading to more conversions and sales. However, what happens if you use SEO and expand beyond the local markets? With Google seeing billions of searches every day, there are opportunities for organisations to draw in prospects.

The caveat, in this case, is the standard practices might not translate as well as some might think. In some instances, it may even hurt your efforts outside the country. Therefore, you must implement strong international SEO techniques to steer clear of this pitfall. In this guide, we’ll discuss what it is and how advantageous it can be for you.

International SEO—what is it?

As its name suggests, international SEO refers to the combination of practices, processes, and policies that organisations use to optimise their search content outside their respective countries. Its goal is to ensure that search engines can identify and determine where businesses operate from and the languages they support. Effective campaigns leverage language and geographic data for developing plans that can generate strong returns.

Implementing robust strategies and hiring agencies specialising in international SEO like Ocere can help you capture new markets. As a result, you can significantly multiply your revenue stream.

How international SEO transforms websites

Strategies for international SEO mainly focus on creating content applicable to the local markets and developing website structures to help search engines serve and find the correct websites. For instance, a company selling window shades within the U.S. that is looking to branch out to South American countries like Brazil or Colombia will need to ensure that the target customers are guided to the web pages containing information regarding their locations, shipping times, and costs and fees in the country’s currency.

So, the hypothetical organisation will need to structure its website to include Brazil or Colombia and United States pages. They must also leverage the metadata needed so search requests will direct users to where they need to be on the site based on their location.

Do you need it?

Whether or not you need international SEO strategies in place will depend on the plans you have for your business. If you’re not looking to go beyond your local market, state or city, it probably won’t be worth the resources and time required. In reality, it’ll only backfire on your brand if it’s only local. However, if you plan to expand the company beyond the country’s borders, international SEO will get you places. Given the many businesses competing for their respective markets globally, these strategies are necessary to stand out.

Even countries in close proximity can benefit from international SEO. For example, a company in the United States looking to attract a Mexican market can use this strategy to its advantage.

International versus local SEO

The main difference between international and local SEO is scale. The latter primarily focuses on target audiences and keywords in a narrow geographic location, while the former targets a more diverse market across various regions. Their main differentiators are the following:

Cost. International SEO generally comes with higher costs due to scope and scale.

Content. To broaden reach globally, more content will need to be produced instead of local SEO strategies.

Capture. With a global market, comprehensive research is necessary to accommodate consumers and meet expectations.

Conclusion

There aren’t many digital marketing techniques that are as essential as international SEO when creating a global presence. However, the process is as complicated as it is tedious. Therefore, it’s a rule of thumb to invest in the services of professionals instead of tackling it yourself. Doing so will save you time and a lot of trouble.

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Food Standards Showdown – USA vs the EU

Western countries are experiencing an increase in food-related issues. In the US, the Consumer Brand Association has estimated that food fraud could cost the industry upwards of $15 billion. This is the act of selling food items at a premium price even if they’re diluted or of poor quality.

Electrix, the leading manufacturers of stainless steel enclosures, take a look at how food standards are different between the US and EU due to the US being more stringent than the EU, despite what might be believed.

 

The Countries with the Highest Food Standards

Before we investigate how the standards differ, we should first examine which countries place an emphasis on food safety. The Global Food Security Index (GFSI) conducted a study on 113 countries, ranking them on their food standards.

The GFSI scored countries on the safety of their food, as well as its affordability, availability, and quality. Seven of the top 10 countries are in Europe and two are in North America, with the outlier being Japan. The US is tied for ninth with France, while the likes of the Netherlands, Canada, and Switzerland placed higher. The top three countries for highest food security scores stands at the United Kingdom in third, Austria in second, and Ireland in first. This highlights that the US and EU have some of the highest standards in the world.

 

How do Food Regulations Differ Between Continents?

The way that governing bodies operate in the US compared to the EU is the main differentiating factor.

Here in the US, we have a centralized federal system for food inspection and examination that is split into multiple governing bodies. This is the federal body of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is accountable for the majority of food products in the country, and the Food Safety Inspection Services (FSIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which cover poultry, meat, and eggs.

Meanwhile, for the 27 European countries in the EU, the food standards laws are all streamlined into one governing body: European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). This shows a key difference in the management of food standards. The United States has federal administration, while Europe has one non-federal organization.

 

Allergens, Preservatives, and Additives

Another key difference between the US and Europe is how prohibited ingredients are decided upon. This also extends to how product information is displayed to the consumer on the packaging.

The FDA tends to take a more reactive approach to food standards inspections, as it allows food additives unless they’re proven to be directly harmful. In Europe, the additives must be proven as unharmful before they can be used in food production. This means we see growth hormones and chemical preservatives in food production here in the US, whereas EFSA is strictly against the use of hormones and strongly advises against manufacturers using preservatives.

Similarly, US poultry suppliers wash chicken with chlorine to kill any harmful bacteria on the surface of the skin. In Europe, however, this comes down to individual countries’ discretion on whether or not to wash chicken in chemicals.

There is a persistent myth that people need to rinse chicken in water before cooking, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) actually advises that you cook your chicken thoroughly to kill any leftover bacteria instead. Washing the chicken could actually contribute to more contamination.

In a number of ways, the testing and analysis of food before it’s distributed is more thorough in the States while the EU’s standards are far stricter. Taking a more reactive stance with a federalized approach to food safety means food can be outputted quicker than when every product’s ingredients and additives must be tested beforehand. However, there isn’t really a definitive “best approach” to food analysis and both work within the context of food safety. We’ll also see an even greater approach to food safety in the future, with the FDA placing a focus on improving technology to further reduce the number of illnesses in the country.

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Can I Be Forced to Return to Work After a Workplace Injury?

Workers and employees in not only USA but all over now have better rights. The law is doing its best to protect your rights and ensure fair treatment when filing workers’ compensation claims. An employee has power in today’s world, he is no more a slave. You as workers have to realize this power. Don’t allow your employers to behave indiscriminately and unethically with you.

If you have suffered from an injury, for example, a car accident while transporting goods, injury due to a defective machine, or a harmful chemical infection, you are eligible to seek compensation for the same. Now we understand you must be having a tonne of questions like will you be forced to get back to work? Will the company pay your medical bills till you completely recover? Will you lose your salary during the recovery time? We shall answer all these questions in this post.

What is worker’s compensation?

A worker’s compensation is a state program that offers benefits to employees who are hurt or become sick at the workplace or as a result of their daily tasks at work. It functions as an insurance scheme for workers, offering monetary compensation, health coverage, or both, to employees who get ill or injured due to their occupations.

In the United States, several states are largely in charge of handling workers’ compensation. The perks that are necessary vary substantially between states. You can get in touch with a professional lawyer to find out more about the policies of your state.

Common questions related to worker’s compensation.

Now, let us take up some frequently asked questions about worker’s compensation.

Can any worker take legal help for worker’s compensation? Yes! Worker’s compensation is state-approved and is aimed at helping all workers across America. Whether you are a low-wage worker or a manager, if you have suffered an injury on duty, then the company has to assume full responsibility for it.

When to file worker’s compensation? The sooner you do it the better. To get compensation, some proof has to be submitted. Your injuries are the biggest proof. Make sure you take steps with the help of a good lawyer immediately after the accident.

Notifying the worker’s boss of the work-related injury is the initial step in starting the work compensation filing procedure. Additionally, it is important to submit a proper application. These specifics, such as the date, time, and contact information of a few eyewitnesses, should be included in the notice of accident or sickness given to the company.

Will I be forced to get back to work after an injury? No. If your medical condition doesn’t allow you to be able to do a difficult task, no company can force you. Rather doing so will mean your employer is harassing you and he will get into more trouble.

Your employer will certainly offer you a job, you can accept the offer, but can take leave whenever you need to see the doctor or whenever you feel the job is beyond your limit. If your manager seems to give you a lot of work even after an injury, please make sure to inform a superior about this ill behaviour.

Will I lose my salary for the days I take to recover? You will certainly receive wage loss benefits from the company. You will be paid for all the days you were absent due to the injury. How much wage loss benefit you can receive will depend on your weekly salary.

Will the company take care of my medical bills despite me returning to work? Healthcare is a continuous process. Say, for example, you have a fracture in your hand. You will definitely need to visit the doctor a few times until your hand is back to normal. Not to mention that healthcare has become so expensive today. Even if you do return to work, the company is liable to pay your medical bills and other healthcare payments.

Are there any restrictions to claiming worker’s compensation benefits? Worker’s compensation is meant to help the workers and not for the workers to take advantage of it. If the injury was a result of your own carelessness and malpractice then the company is not liable to give you any compensation.

Bottom line

Employees are more secure today than they ever were, we just lack employee education. Not many employees know about these benefits that they can avail of their company. We hope that this post helped you clear all the doubts and properly understand worker’s compensation.

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Truck Driving as a Career: What to Consider

Truck Driving

Truck driving is a career that appeals to many people. There is something alluring about making a living from hitting the open road, spending long periods behind the wheel, and exploring new places. Truck driving does not have to remain a fantasy as it is a career that can be relatively easy to start and there is currently a shortage of workers. There are many benefits to a career as a truck driver, but there are also a few drawbacks and considerations that you need to be aware of. This post will look at a few of the main things to be aware of, including both the benefits and drawbacks of a career in trucking.

 

There Is a Shortage Right Now

As mentioned above, there is currently a truck driver shortage in the US (and many countries around the world). This means that now could be a good time to start as you can find a lot of work and benefit from job security, but you must also ask yourself why there is a shortage. There is not one reason for this, but many state that they left the trucking industry due to working conditions, so this is something that you need to be wary of.

 

You Can Be Your Own Boss

Many truck drivers like to set up their own businesses so that they can be their own bosses. This can be a great way to take control of your truck driving career and provides a level of flexibility that is hard to match. For those that do not want to work for someone else, you might find starting your own trucking business to be incredibly rewarding and life changing. Additionally, it is not too challenging to start your own trucking business, unlike many other types of businesses.

 

It Can Be Demanding

Although you can be your own boss and there is a level of flexibility, you will find that truck driving can also be hugely demanding. To make a good amount of money, you will need to take on as much work as possible, and this will involve having to meet tight deadlines. This can be difficult, which is why you should never take on more than you can handle and ensure that you are using the best route planning software, so that you can be as efficient as possible each day.

 

The Open Road Can Be Therapeutic

If you like driving, you should find the open road to be incredibly cathartic. There is something special about hitting the open road by yourself and it can provide you with the opportunity to enjoy precious alone time. This can be therapeutic, and it is one of the most appealing parts of being a truck driver for many people.

 

The Work Can Be Lonely

Although the open road can be cathartic and alone time can be beneficial, you will find that there is a fine line and sometimes the work can be lonely. You will spend most of your time behind the wheel by yourself, and you might have to be away from home when making long deliveries. This means that the work can be lonely and isolating, so you need to be wary of this, and ensure that you are spending plenty of time with loved ones in your free time.

 

You Can Find Shipping Work on Load Boards

One of the best aspects of trucking these days is that it is easier than ever to find shipping work. You can browse available truck loads on load boards, which allows you to find a steady stream of work and pick and choose what works for you. This is particularly helpful when you are just getting started and looking to find work, as you can find continuous work and build up your experience levels.

 

You Need to Prioritize Your Wellbeing

You will find that many new truck drivers struggle in the first year or so and this is because they do not know how to look after themselves. When you spend long periods on the road away from home and must make tight deadlines, you will find that your well-being can take a backseat, but this is dangerous. You need to make sure that you maintain a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and take regular breaks from driving. You also need to lead a healthy lifestyle in your free time, so that you can recover, recharge, and enjoy your time off. It can take some getting used to, but this will be key for long-term success and enjoying your work.

 

The Work Can Be Engaging

Although truck drivers spend a lot of time driving on highways, you will find that the work can still be engaging. This is because you are constantly having to focus – you will be exploring new places and meeting new people along the way. If you are the type of person that struggles in an office environment, you might find trucking to be an improvement because you are out and about each day and every job will be different.

 

Truck Driving Is Different

It is also important to note that driving a truck is a lot different from driving a regular vehicle. Even if you are a confident and competent driver, you might find it hard to adjust to trucking, particularly when it comes to reversing and parking. Therefore, it is important to develop your truck driving skills before you get started, so that you can feel confident behind the wheel while on the job.

 

These are a few of the main things to be aware of if you are thinking about starting work as a truck driver. It is a career that is often romanticized and, while there are certainly many benefits to it, you will find that there are drawbacks, and it is a line of work that is not well-suited to everyone. However, as long as you consider the above advice, you’ll be able to make an informed decision.

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Real Estate Market: the Brazilian Startup’s Plan to Become the Building Software With Housi

Keys and paperwork

Latin American proptech has consolidated itself as a “camel startup” – which is one that has sustainable growth, good cash flow, stability and long-term strategies. It is focusing all its efforts on equipping real estate developments and is betting on the strategy of housing as a service connected to other complementary services in a new application.

Launched in 2019, Housi is a world pioneer in the 100% digital flexible housing service. The entire process is done digitally and, to rent an apartment on the platform, it takes less than 1 minute. The resident has everything in a single subscription, such as: rent, furniture, water, electricity, internet, Netflix, etc.

As unicorns in the proptech sector, with a wave of layoffs and questioning in valuations, Housi – a world pioneer platform in the 100% digital flexible housing service – has doubled its team and aims to expand into the international market. Among the main international destinations are the USA, Latin America and Portugal.

“We are growing 400% a year. There are 200 partner developers and more than 60,000 apartments equipped with Housi’s operating system. This represents a PSV close to R$20 billion with the Housi brand – which makes it virtually the largest developer in Brazil”, says Alexandre Frankel – CEO of Housi.

Nowadays it is possible to install services such as Waze and the banking app on smartphones. So, imagine installing the main services also in buildings: mini market, laundry, on-demand rental of household items. All are connected to a single housing app. This means more simplicity and free time. 

“In a very simple way, the same transformation that Microsoft brought to personal computers or that Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS systems brought to mobile devices, Housi proposed to bring to still analog hardware: real estate. We connect previously analog buildings to services and solutions through Housi AppSpace,” explains Frankel.

In just a few months, the company has already attracted around 50 partners to its Housi App Space. “In practice, this process is almost organic and software driven. It’s just a matter of adapting the technology”, says the CEO.

Partnerships include major brands such as Unilever and Samsung to bring solutions such as:

  • laundry
  • cleaning
  • grocery store
  • home appliance rental
  • smart lockers
  • subscription electric car
  • shared bicycles

“Housi AppSpace is our Windows. Just like any hardware, a building needs an operating system. And our vision is to be the operating system that digitizes real estate and connects it to developments”, he concludes.

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Entrepreneurs: The Positive Impacts of Having Flowers and Plant Life in The Office

Have you ever wondered why some business establishments love having flowers and greenery around certain parts of the premises, from lobbies, to waiting rooms, entrances, and even on top of office desks?

Well, the owners are simply not obsessed with nature. Rather, they know the crucial roles played by these natural elements as far as boosting health, décor, and productivity are concerned.

For the entrepreneur reading this, here are some positive ways in which having colorful blooms and greenery in the office can impact your workplace.

They Enhance Décor (Welcoming Office)

When workers, clients, prospective employees, and business associates walk into your office, the overall design is often the first thing they’ll notice. But did you know that natural elements tend to make a business environment more inviting?

This is perhaps why nature-inspired or biophilic office designs are steadily gaining traction in the Americas and around the world. Besides letting in more natural light through the windows, there’s compelling evidence that introducing live plants and a few fresh (or faux) flowers can make your office livelier and more attractive.

Plants Can Purify Indoor Air

Yes, most offices are properly ventilated and all; but that may not always be the case. And even if so, HVAC systems do fail or get overwhelmed from time to time. Depending on the level of activity and congestion in your office, introducing some indoor plants can be a huge plus.

And it doesn’t have to look like the biblical Gardens of Aden. Just place a potted Boston fern or two in the corners, a peace lily on top of a window, or Devil’s Ivy near a source of natural light in your office. Alongside the likes of Chrysanthemum, rubber plant, and Philodendron, these plants are great natural air purifiers.

They can help keep your office smelling fresh by naturally ridding toxins from the circulating air, so you and your employees can have little to worry about foul odors and more time to focus on the tasks at hand.

Flowers and Greenery Can Office Boost Productivity and Creativity

Fresh, natural scents (such as lavender, peppermint, sandalwood, vanilla, and eucalyptus) within an office can help make employees more creative and productive.

The same can be said for having colorful, happiness-promoting blooms and greenery around the office. And after all, healthier, happier, stress-free employees are more likely to be productive at work!

The best part is that you can easily order your office blooms from a reputed provider online without incurring much. If you check out flower subscriptions from Bouqs, it’s easy to see how much you can save, the flexibility afforded to you, and the exclusive collection of plants and flowers you can pick from.

A Health Boost for Employees and Less a Health Boost

For you and your employees, having air-purifying plants could mean a reduced risk of suffering certain respiratory health issues. But on top of this, science has it that flowers can help reduce stress, boost mood, and elevate happiness levels in employees.

According to a past study, just the mere presence of flowers can be an effective way to naturally lower blood pressure. More research also indicates that plants and flowers may prevent what is known as the “sick building syndrome” which often presents symptoms like flu, nausea, headaches, and concentration problems.

With all these science-backed health benefits established, it is safe to say that office plants and flowers can also help reduce employee absenteeism, making them a crucial inclusion in any office.

For you and your employees, having your office’s indoor environment enhanced by natural elements can be a huge help in boosting productivity and improving staff morale. Of course, it is not going to completely replace the need for the traditional air conditioning systems; but it certainly helps take the edge off as far as air quality is concerned.

If you’re a business owner, the above pointers should be convincing enough to make you introduce life plants and flowers in the workplace.

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The Rise of Food Fraud in the United States

Man holding organic food basket

When we buy food and beverages, we want to be sure that what we’re buying is not just safe to consume, but that we’re getting exactly what we paid for. Especially if you’re paying for the premium price tag that often comes with organic foods.

The rise of food fraud across America is one of the key factors damaging relationships between distributors and consumers. The Consumer Brands Association (CBA) estimated that food fraud is estimated to have an impact of around $10-$15 billion annually.

But what is food fraud, and what’s being done to stop it? Electrix, a leading provider of stainless steel enclosures, examines what the goals and effects of food fraud are, where it’s most common, and how food industries are dealing with it at the source.

 

The essentials of food fraud

The FDA uses the phrase economically motivated adulteration (EMA) to refer to food fraud but defines it as the intentional substitution or removal of key ingredients in food products as well as purposefully misleading consumers in regards to a food product’s quality. This can be done by mislabelling the products or adding extra ingredients to dilute the overall quality.

Food fraud is economically driven, which is why the organic food industry is such a huge target. Organic food sales have seen significant growth. The market is currently valued at $59.28 billion and is predicted to increase to $125.65 billion by 2026. A number of food products are commonly found to be fraudulent, such as honey and maple syrup, which are sometimes diluted with cheaper sweeteners, such as corn syrup or cane sugar, and then sold as the pure product. Olive oil faces a similar treatment by being diluted by cheaper vegetable oil.

Mislabelling doesn’t just affect consumers’ wallets but could also contribute to illnesses or cause deaths. Products that are not stringently checked and evaluated to be legitimate could mean that unwanted bacteria or allergens could contaminate food. The most extreme case of food fraud was the Peanut Corporation of America where, in 2009, the former CEO of the Peanut Corporation of America approved the shipment of peanut butter that had been contaminated with salmonella. Seven deaths were reported as a result, the CEO was arrested, and the business was dissolved.

This supply chain of the American food industry was also damaged. A lack of trust from consumers will have a major effect on distributors and puts pressure on where they receive their products from. This could have a knock-on effect on suppliers that are regarded as trustworthy within the industry as a result, with a greater scrutiny being placed on every point in the supply chain.

 

How is it detected & what’s being done?

Pinning down the origins of food fraud is difficult. However, government bodies are working hard to detect and prevent food fraud across the country.

Beyond simply recalling food from shelves, we’ve seen the establishment of the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI), which collects resources in order to learn and counteract food fraud. There’s also the option to subscribe to the Decernis’ Food Fraud Database. Introduced by US Pharmacopeia, this is a database of reports and records about food fraud and the potential dangers from certain suppliers that could be used to identify issues within your own supply chain.

However, there is still a major issue when it comes to surveillance. Overall, the largest number of agents qualified to police food fraud are based in the US. The USDA found that with nearly 45,000 organic operations around the globe, this equates to each officer overseeing 583 facilities. However, they are only required to take a sample from 5% of them per year. This could mean that 554 of every 583 organic food sites are carrying out food malpractice without even knowing.

The rise of food fraud across the country impacts the food industry at multiple stages. From an economic standpoint, the impact of food fraud being valued at up to $15 million could continue to grow and affect the revenue of the food industry. This comes from mislabelling products, valuing them as a higher quality than they are, intentionally tampering with ingredients or diluting them with cheaper products. Not only does this put consumer health at risk by not disclosing the correct allergen information, but it also affects consumer trust and buying behaviours. This echoes throughout the supply chain and hinders trust in suppliers. And while more can be done in terms of surveillance, it seems hopeful that food fraud can be tackled with more sincerity to prevent further damage to the economy of the industry.

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5 Important Tips for Handling Your Taxes When You’re Self-Employed

Becoming self-employed is one of the first steps to being your own boss and becoming financially free. However, with increased income comes increased responsibilities, and a major one is handling your taxes instead of your employer handling them for you. Moreover, the tax filing and payment process are more challenging when self-employed. The following are important tips to handle your taxes when you are self-employed:

 

1. Start Early

The best advice you will receive and follow as it pertains to paying taxes as a self-employed individual is to start the process as early as possible. Since you are responsible for your tax issues and will receive little help, you should start working on it as early as possible. The recommended time is six months before the tax filing deadline. For example, the filing deadline in Mexico is 30th April so you should start by November. Starting early will allow you to review all you need to do and plan accordingly. You will be able to rectify any mistakes along the way and have a cushion for dealing with issues like missing deadlines.

 

2. Estimate Your Tax Bill Ahead of Time, So You Can Put Aside Money Toward It

If you start early, you will also have the chance to do various beneficial things, like calculating your tax bill ahead of time. Doing so is crucial because you can start putting money away specifically to pay your taxes. No one will deduct it from your paycheck, so it\’s best to have an account specifically for tax payments. KeeperTax’s calculator should help you calculate your tax bill as long as you have all the necessary information. A great tip is to keep all your receipts as they will be indispensable in helping you calculate your tax bill ahead of time. Leave a margin of error in case your taxes are higher than expected, so you can still pay them in full.

 

3. Know Your Business’s Legal Structure

An important choice you have to make when starting your own business is the legal structure of your business. Your business could be a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or S-corporation depending on the country or region. For example, there are different structures in Europe vs North America.

It is crucial for many reasons, including determining how much and the type of taxes you will pay. It will also help you with tax planning for the year until you have to pay them. You may need the assistance of a tax attorney to know exactly which taxes you should pay, but self-education is also crucial. The legal structure of your business also determines which deductions you can make.

 

4. Have A Clear Understanding Of Your Earnings and Expenses

You should be clear on how much money you make as a self-employed professional, but it will be more critical during tax time. You should keep all the pertinent documents as long as necessary to ensure you report the correct income amount. Under-reporting your income can put you in significantly hot water with the IRS. Diligently go through your bank statements to ensure you pay the right amount. You should also know the expenses you can write off when filing taxes. You can deduct many expenses when providing clients with services which can save you a lot of money which is why you need to keep all your documents well organized.

 

5. Get Help

If you are a newly self-employed person or are having trouble filing your taxes, you should get help. You may have to pay a small fee while trying to cut costs for your business. However, it is much cheaper to pay for tax filing help than deal with the tax authorities. The good news is that some professionals specialize in offering such help to self-employed individuals. Find other self-employed people and ask them for advice.

Tax filing time is challenging for most self-employed people. The extra responsibility of handling taxes while running a business can be overwhelming. The above tips should help you have an easier time and avoid any trouble with the tax authorities.

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