Food fraud is essentially the sale of an inferior product being represented as a more valuable one. According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers, food fraud costs at least $A65 billion globally each year.
There are seven types of recognised food fraud;
Adulteration – a food is impure, unsafe or unwholesome as it fails to meet the legal standards. Typically this involves the addition of another substance to a food to increase it’s quantity, which may then reduce it’s quality.
Tampering – deliberate contamination of foods during or after manufacture, often done to cause alarm or for blackmail. The Australian penalty is now 15 years in prison. Examples include;
- 2003 – Water bottles with bleach and acetone in Italy
- 2016 – Sweets with pesticide in Pakistan
- 2017 Baby food with ethylene glycol in Germany
- 2018 – Bread with pins in Germany
- 2018 Strawberries with needles in Australia
Overrun –inclusion of air to increase the volume of a food. This is a key process in making ice cream but not done for other foods.
Theft – food taken without authorisation
Diversion – food sent to somewhere other than where ordered or authorised
Simulation – the creation of a likeness of an approved food
Counterfeit – misrepresenting, altering or mislabelling food at any point in the food chain.