Food fraud has not been a term that we have heard much of in SA until recently, thanks to the media. According to the Food Standards Agency of the UK, Food fraud is defined as: food that is is deliberately placed on the market, for financial gain, with the intention of deceiving the consumer.
They identify the two main types of food fraud as:

1. The sale of food which is unfit and potentially harmful:

  • recycling of animal by-products back into the food chain
  • packing and selling of beef and poultry of unknown origin
  • knowingly selling goods which are past their 'use by' date

2. The deliberate misdescription of food, such as:

  • products substituted with a cheaper alternative, for example, farmed salmon sold as wild, and Basmati rice adulterated with cheaper varieties
  • making false statements about the source of ingredients, i.e. their geographic, plant or animal origin

Another definition refers to food fraud as "Economically Motivated Adulteration". The common thread is that the seller will benefit financially from the sale of such products, as the undisclosed ingredients may be easier to source, or may be cheaper than the original ingredient.

Reasons for customer concern are that the contents:

  • may contain allergens
  • may be unacceptable for religious or ethical reasons
  • may carry a negative consumer perception
  • may have bypassed necessary food safety controls

Retailers and manufacturers can protect themselves against issues such as this by ensuring that they have a  strict and effective Supplier Quality Assurance plan in place, and that they conduct random testing of their product.

Some further reading...






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