Perspectives in Public Health | VOL. 134

Food fraud: ensuring the integrity of our food supply

Publication Date Oct 24, 2014


When the horsemeat scandal hit the UK, there was an outcry about food safety and labelling. While it has subsequently become clear that health was not at risk, the Elliott review, published at the beginning of September, seeks to ensure that in the future, our food will be less easily adulterated.The Food Standards Agency1 defines food fraud as when 'food is deliberately placed on the market, for financial gain, with the intention of deceiving the consumer'. Food crime, according to the Elliott Review, 'no longer involves random acts by "rogues" within the food industry but becomes an organised activity by groups which knowingly set out to deceive, and/ or injure, those purchasing food'.2Research suggests that adulterated olive oil is the biggest agricultural fraud in the European Union. Products labelled italian extra virgin olive oil are frequently found to have originated in Tunisia or libya and may simply be ordinary olive oil coloured with green chlorophyll.3 it has been suggested that the profits from olive oil fraud are 'comparable to cocaine trafficking but with none of the risks'.4 it is estimated that 1,700tonnes of manuka honey are produced annually in New Zealand; however, 1,800tonnes are sold annually in the UK alone and around 10,000tonnes worldwide.5 The biggest food fraud in US history also involved honey - although, in this case, chinese honey - that was deliberately shipped through other Asian nations to disguise its origins and evade import duties.6Most worrying are cases when foods are tainted or mislabel...


Food Fraud Olive Oil Adulterated Olive Oil Food Crime Retail Premises Food Safety Food Factories Mental Distress Physical Harm Milk Powder

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