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Food Fraud LINK

Considering that Article 1(2) extends the scope of official controls to the entire agri-food chain, this definition applies beyond fraud related to food and so also covers other categories of products such as plant health, animal health and feed.

Food Fraud


Fraud affects businesses and consumers. The consequences are mainly financial, particularly when the fraud is related to quality. However, these intentional infringements of the EU agri-food chain legislation may hinder the functioning of the EU Single Market and may also constitute a risk to human, animal or plant health, to animal welfare or to the environment. Fraudulent practices can happen at any stage of production, processing and trade and the purchaser that is the victim can be the final consumer as well as a business operator.

The Commission decided to organise a project to collect information on potential fraud risks identified by Member State authorities and control methods to detect fraudulent and deceptive practices in the agri-food chain. Between 2020 and 2022 a series of pilot and fact-finding studies of eight Member States were carried out with the aim to identify good practice examples and challenges Member State authorities face with the implementation of fraud related controls. The results of these fact-finding studies form the basis of this report.

The technical report presents challenges, opportunities and good practice examples in relation to the implementation of Article 9(2) of Regulation (EU) 2017/625. Competent authorities of the Member States are required to not only detect violations of the rules governing the agri-food chain but also to identify possible intentional violations of those rules, perpetrated through fraudulent or deceptive practices by operators for the purpose of gaining an undue advantage.

Fraudulent blending of food products with meats from undeclared species: (a) is a problem on a global scale, as exemplified by the European horsemeat scandal in 2013, (b) affects consumer rights from the economic point of view, and (c) might be a significant problem for people with ethical or religious concerns regarding the consumption of meat from species such as horse or pork.

Both FDA and FSIS will soon require that food processors under their jurisdiction develop food defense plans; there are food companies that have adopted the Carver + Shock food defense plan for mitigation of bioterrorism risk that was used during the Desert Storm invasion of Iraq by the US Department of Defense.

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.

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.

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.

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 behaviors. 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.

Food fraud, including the more defined subcategory of economically motivated adulteration, is a food risk that is gaining recognition and concern. Regardless of the cause of the food risk, adulteration of food is both an industry and a government responsibility. Food safety, food fraud, and food defense incidents can create adulteration of food with public health threats. Food fraud is an intentional act for economic gain, whereas a food safety incident is an unintentional act with unintentional harm, and a food defense incident is an intentional act with intentional harm. Economically motivated adulteration may be just that-economically motivated-but the food-related public health risks are often more risky than traditional food safety threats because the contaminants are unconventional. Current intervention systems are not designed to look for a near infinite number of potential contaminants. The authors developed the core concepts reported here following comprehensive research of articles and reports, expert elicitation, and an extensive peer review. The intent of this research paper is to provide a base reference document for defining food fraud-it focuses specifically on the public health threat-and to facilitate a shift in focus from intervention to prevention. This will subsequently provide a framework for future quantitative or innovative research. The fraud opportunity is deconstructed using the criminology and behavioral science applications of the crime triangle and the chemistry of the crime. The research provides a food risk matrix and identifies food fraud incident types. This project provides a starting point for future food science, food safety, and food defense research.

Practical application: Food fraud, including the more defined subcategory of economically motivated adulteration, is a food protection threat that has not been defined or holistically addressed. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, led to the development of food defense as an autonomous area of study and a new food protection discipline. As economically motivated adulteration grows in scope, scale, and awareness, it is conceivable that food fraud will achieve the same status as an autonomous concept, between food safety and food defense. This research establishes a starting point for defining food fraud and identifying the public health risks.

Food fraud, or the act of purposely altering, mislabeling or tampering with any edible product, is a growing problem in global food supply chains. According to the U.S. Congressional Research Service, there have been 60 percent as many incidents of food adulteration from 2011 to 2012 than had been identified in the 30 years between 1980 and 2010.

For the study, more than 100 consumers were asked to put a value on different brands of extra-virgin olive oil. The brands were from Italy, Greece and the United States. After reading an article about cases of food fraud involving Italian producers of olive oil, the consumers were asked again to place a value on each brand of EVOO.

The fraudulent action diminished the perceived value of all EVOOs by consumers. The value of Italian EVOO saw a 51 percent decrease in average valuation, the Greek EVOO was devalued by 13 percent, and United States EVOO was decreased by 9 percent.

If you suspect you have bought fraudulent food products, or see them for sale, you should report it to the police and your local environmental health office or food regulatory authority. Do not eat or drink the products if you have any doubts about them.

What's in your food? Sometimes, reading the list of ingredients or the nutrition facts label may not tell the real story. Food adulteration, or "food fraud," occurs when an ingredient is replaced partially or fully with something different - without the knowledge of the consumer. A new study published in the April issue of the Journal of Food Science researches food adulteration to see how to better protect the nation's food supply. Why does food fraud occur? It's mostly "technical and economical," according to Dr. John Spink, study author and assistant director of the anti-counterfeiting and product protection program at Michigan State University. "However, there are some cases where there can be serious health consequences."

While food fraud is often about making money, the price of cost savings sometimes ends up much higher than anticipated. While most food fraud has posed little danger to consumers, approximately 300,000 babies in China became ill with kidney problems in 2008 due to contaminated milk powder. Investigators found traces of melamine, a chemical used in industrial plastics, adhesives, and other materials. This case of food fraud resulted in 6 deaths.

Many similarities across countries emerged, as well as some differences. Consumers in Europe are highly concerned with the authenticity of the meat in ready meals and strongly prefer to know that ingredients are nationally sourced. Strong regional differences in price premiums exist for enhanced food safety standards. 041b061a72


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