Definition of Food Fraud Revisited

This paper discusses the definition of food fraud based on an analysis of 53 empirical cases on food fraud investigations conducted at the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA). It suggests that the scope of food fraud is widened and encompasses three forms of food fraud: food laundering, fraudulent food enhancement, and facilitative food fraud. Food laundering encompasses the use of illegal material as food, whereas fraudulent food enhancement describes a situation where legal food is value-enhanced through deceitful cost-cutting measures. Facilitative food fraud captures the role of facilitative actors that operate illegally and intentionally for economic advantage. On the basis of this widened scope a modified definition of food fraud is proposed: food fraud is committed by any actor who is intentionally involved in illegal acts for economic advantage, thus causing or facilitating illegal food to be laundered into the supply chain or for food to be fraudulently value-enhanced.

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