Food fraud is secretly infiltrating America. Here’s how you can avoid it

The food in your kitchen cabinets may not be what it seems.

“I guarantee that any time a product can be touted as something more expensive, it will be. It’s as simple as that,” said Larry Olmsted, author of “Real Food/Fake Food.” , to CNBC.

Fraudsters motivated by economic gain covertly infiltrate the global food market through a variety of means, including counterfeits, dilutions, substitution, and mislabelling.

This not only hurts consumers’ wallets, but also endangers public health and safety.

By some estimates, food fraud affects at least 1% of the global food industry and costs up to $40 billion a year, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

“We may not know the global impact of food fraud because much of what fraudsters do is hidden from us and has been for centuries.” Kristie Laurvick, senior food program manager at the US Pharmacopeial Convention, told CNBC.

Even the FDA says it cannot estimate the frequency of this fraud or its economic impact.

“Be aware of what product you’re putting on yourself or plugging into the wall,” John Spink, director of the Food Fraud Prevention Think Tank, told CNBC.

Between 2012 and 2021, the most common type of food fraud involved lying about an animal’s origin and dilution or substitution, both ranking in 16% of incidents recorded by food safety monitor Food Chain ID .

For example, dilution might involve adding a cheaper vegetable oil to an expensive extra virgin olive oil.

“If I drink scotch, I couldn’t tell you [the] difference between a $50 bottle and a $5,000 bottle. So I know I could be cheated at that point,” Spink said.

The Food Fraud Prevention Think Tank offers five questions a consumer can ask to reduce their vulnerability to product fraud.

  1. What type of product is it? Be extra careful with any product you put on your body, ingest, or plug into the wall.
  2. Can you recognize the difference between the products?
  3. Do you know the reseller or supplier? Do you trust them?
  4. Do you shop online? If so, did you find the supplier online from a reliable source?
  5. Complain. Is the provider legit? If so, they will want to know.

Watch the video above to learn more about the different types of food fraud, how the industry prevents risk, what consumers can do and where fraud occurs in the olive oil, spice and olive oil markets. seafood can hide.

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