Who stole my cheese?

An astonishing 4 percent of the world's cheese ends up stolen, making it the world's most stolen food (via Time). Who knew?! Perhaps even more surprising is that the majority of these losses are carried out via full truckload. The reason is that it is a relatively expensive yet high turnover product, and bulk cheese can readily be divided up and re-packaged to avoid identification, and then sold on through a number of channels quickly.


The recent report about a theft of a large quantity of cheese and corned beef from a local warehouse that occurred over a period of months comes on the tail of an earlier heist of over $1m in cheese last year at a different location. In the first case, the fact that the product was missing was only discovered after a physical stock taking, and the manner in which the stock was actually removed has not been publicly disclosed in the press.

In the second case, newspaper reports claim that despite not having the correct paperwork, a delivery truck was allowed by guards to enter a warehouse compound along with legitimate transport vehicles, loaded the goods and successfully left the premises unchallenged. Checks later revealed that a significant volume of stock had been stolen over a period of time and this event was simply the most recent episode.


In both cases it is most likely that internal employees were involved in successfully manipulating records in order to hide the ongoing theft, and because the losses were only discovered after the fact it is clear that procedures were not sufficiently robust.

These and other events reinforce how warehouse accounting and operational protocols must be very carefully planned, managed and independently tested regularly in order to avoid potentially substantial losses. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to prove that someone is guilty of warehouse theft without catching the person red-handed, so it’s much easier to put measures in place which help you avoid thefts altogether.

If you’d like some perspective on how to reduce the frequency and severity of warehouse losses, get in touch to find out how we can help you manage your exposures.