food fraud definition (2)

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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Review of Global Food Fraud Definitions Published


Food fraud, food adulteration, food crime, food integrity, food authenticity and food counterfeiting are all commonly applied terms to a problem that has existed since the commercialisation of food. Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), FSA (Food Standards Agenc)y and FSS (Food Standards Scotland) commissioned the Food Authenticity Network, via LGC, to undertake an examination of published literature to identify the major definitions related to food fraud and global standardisation activities in this area (with a focus on terminology and testing methods).

The project has identified:

  • Ten commonly cited food fraud definitions in the scientific literature, and ten common food fraud definitions identified in the non-scientific literature
  • Definitions for economically motivated adulteration (EMA), food authenticity, food integrity and food crime.
  • Definitions for eleven different types of food fraud with examples.
  • Five standardisation organisations currently engaged in activities to standardise terminology and testing methods.

You can read the report here, and it will be added to the Research section of the website 

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