What You Need to Know About Food Fraud
In the food industry, the perfect world would be an environment where food labels are 100% accurate. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Food labels can’t always be taken at face value, and buyers must keep their guard up when it comes to food fraud.
This article will provide an overview of what food fraud is, the impact it can have on your business, and how to avoid becoming a victim.
What is Food Fraud?
Food fraud is the act of altering, misrepresenting, substituting, or tampering with food ingredients, packaging, or statements about the food to convince consumers to purchase it. Food fraud has existed for thousands of years but has received extra attention in the last decade.
In 2013, there was a famous scandal in Europe where authorities discovered burgers that were supposed to be 100% beef contained horsemeat. That same year, the United States Pharmacopeial Convention discovered the number of food fraud cases was up by 60%. Since then, food products have been rightfully further scrutinized.
Here are some of the products that are most easily and frequently tampered with:
- Olive oil
These products have a history of being diluted with cheap fillers, or otherwise manipulated, and then passed off as being something they are not. The result is a marketplace containing products such as 100% juice that is heavily watered down, extra virgin olive oil that contains cheaper oils, or organic honey that is not organic-certified.
What is the Impact of Food Fraud?
In many cases, food fraud is an economic and moral concern more than anything. It causes people to pay more for products than they should because the products are misrepresented as being of higher quality than is truly the case. The primary food safety concern is a label that omits or misrepresents ingredients that are allergens. If someone with an allergy to an ingredient that isn’t listed on the label consumes the product, the consequences can be dire.
For your food producers, there are two considerations. The first is being diligent about accuracy on your own labels so your products aren’t fraudulent. The second is taking steps to prevent being the victim of food fraud from your ingredient suppliers.
How to Watch for Food Fraud
While it is impossible to completely rule out food fraud in the ingredients you bring in to your facility, there are steps you can take to protect your business. One is to subscribe to the Food Fraud Database, which is continuously updated to keep consumers informed. Another is to monitor the list of FDA recalls, market withdrawals, and safety alerts, which are listed here.
How Avatar Provides Quality Assurance
Avatar Corporation manufactures a wide range of release agents for both direct and indirect food contact. Avatar food-grade products are certified Kosher, Halal, and Organic compliant and are manufactured in conformity with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). To get pricing, order a sample, connect with a territory manager, or for other inquiries, contact us.