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Food

You Might Be a Victim of Food Fraud

Food fraud has occurred since 2008, and it’s just getting worse.

If you’re not familiar with the term “food fraud,” you probably won’t be able to forget it after today since it can affect you, your family, and your loved ones.  Once you know how vast the problem is worldwide, you’ll be a different person on your next grocery store trip.

What is Food Fraud?

Food fraud is the deliberate act of deceiving consumers by tampering with, misrepresenting, or misbranding food products for financial gain.

Examples of food fraud include adding cheaper ingredients to food products, substituting one food item for another, or mislabeling the origin or quality of a food product.

List of Most Affected Foods 

Foods that are commonly subjected to fraud due to their high value, widespread use, and complex supply chains include:

  1. Olive oil
  2. Honey
  3. Spices
  4. Milk and dairy products
  5. Wine
  6. Seafood
  7. Fruit juices
  8. Coffee and tea
  9. Sweeteners (such as high fructose corn syrup)
  10. Meat products (such as beef, poultry, and pork)
A Look at Fraudulent Labeling Practices - FoodSafetyTech
A Look at Fraudulent Labeling Practices

It’s important to note that food fraud can occur in any food product and that new cases are continually being discovered.

National News Coverage on Food Fraud

CNBC recently reported on the many examples of food fraud.

Video: How Americans Are Tricked Into Buying Fake Food, CNBC Jan 15, 2023

The FDA reports, “Outside estimates by experts have found that food fraud affects 1% of the global food industry at a cost of about $10-$15 billion a year, although some more recent expert estimates put the cost as high as $40 billion a year.”

Many companies have faced lawsuits and legal action due to food fraud. Some examples include:

  1. Nestle – faced lawsuits in the US and Europe for misrepresenting the quality and origin of its pure life bottled water.
  2. Subway – faced lawsuits in the US for misrepresenting the size and weight of its footlong sandwiches.
  3. Blue Bell Creameries – faced lawsuits in the US for a 2015 listeria outbreak linked to its ice cream products.
  4. Fonterra – faced lawsuits in China for selling contaminated baby formula.
  5. DeCecco – faced lawsuits in the US for misbranding its products as “100% durum wheat semolina pasta” when they contained non-durum wheat.

These are just a few examples, and food fraud scandals are continually emerging, often resulting in legal action against the companies involved.

Food fraud can have serious consequences, including financial losses for companies, harm to consumer health, and damage to the reputation of the companies involved and the food industry.

You can find a database of food fraud here.

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