Food fraud is generally seen as the deliberate and intentional substitution, addition, tampering or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients or food packaging for economic gain.
Food fraud may be known by other terms, such as "food crime," "food related criminality" or even "fake food," and often misleads consumers to pay a higher price for an inferior product.
In certain cases, it can also be a health risk if someone has food allergies and/or when a hazardous material is added to food, such as melamine in milk.
Food fraud can be found in all different types of food but may be most often reported in:
- olive oil
- dry spices
- organic food products
Attention to food fraud is growing
In Canada, it is prohibited to sell a food that is unsafe or falsely labelled. However, food fraud still happens and is an emerging issue around the world. It is difficult to know exactly how much food fraud there is but it is estimated that fraud may cost the global food industry between $10 and $15 billion per year, affecting about 10% of all commercially-sold food products.
Food fraud can occur at any step in the food processing continuum (raw product, processing, packaging, etc.).
- Types of food fraud
- The CFIA's role in combatting food fraud
- Industry's role in combatting food fraud
- How food fraud impacts consumers
- The CFIA Chronicle – Food fraud
- Notice to Industry – Authenticity of honey in the Canadian marketplace
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