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Food Fraud: A current issue for the agrifood industry

What is Food Fraud?

Food fraud is the substitution, dilution or intentional addition of a food product to obtain a financial gain by increasing the apparent value of a product or by reducing its production cost. It can be as easy as deceptive labelling.

Foods that are more affected:

  • Olive oil

  • Fish and sea food products

  • Honey

  • Maple syrup

  • Fruit juices

  • Meat products

  • Spices

  • Coffee

  • Tea

  • Cacao

According to the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative):

The Complexity of Food Fraud

Results of a survey conducted by Eurofins EnvironeX

An example would be spices in the context of globalization​

  • They are a very small part of our diet but have a major impact on international commerce.

  • The distribution cycle of a spice sold in North America passes through numerous stakeholders located in various countries.

  • The complexity of processed food and the fact that many ingredients come from different countries contribute to making the food chain more complex.

How to Manage Risk?

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Regulatory and Certification Requirements

  • Companies certified under the BRC (British Retail Consortium) must evaluate the vulnerability of their raw materials and implement monitoring programs.

  • FSSC 22000 (Food Safety System Certification) and the SQF (Safe Quality Food Institute) will add fraud to their requirements.

  • The US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) refers to food fraud which includes economically motivated adulteration.

Vulnerability Analysis

  • Evaluate ingredients while taking into account factors influencing the risks of fraud:

  • Implement an ingredient monitoring program, depending on the risk.

Analysis Methods:

  • DNA analyses by means of PCR technology

  • Chromatography:

  • Microscopic evaluations

  • IRMS – Isotope Ratio Mass Spectroscopy

  • Specific natural isotope splitting by means of nuclear magnetic resonance.

Future Outlooks

  • Make vulnerability analyses part of the Quality Assurance Program.

  • Continue to itemize fraud cases in the data bases to identify the ingredients at risk.

  • Develop specific analytical methods to oppose fraudsters.

Help provided by Eurofins EnvironeX

Eurofins EnvironeX specialists can advise you on food fraud:

  • Vulnerability analysis

  • Develop your monitoring program

  • Analysis performed with specialized equipment

Food Fraud Analysis


View the presentation