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Volume 30, Issue 1

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Friday, 28 June 2013 16:55

The Cost of Food Fraud or “Does This Vodka Taste Like Bleach?”

In the May issue of Risk Management, Emily Holbrook reported on the prevalence of food fraud in restaurants and supermarkets around the world. Characterized by counterfeit or purposely mislabeled foods used by unscrupulous producers looking to make a quick buck, food fraud manifests itself in many ways. Sometimes its as unsettling as pig rectum in place of calamari or horse meat for hamburger, while other times its farm-raised fish sold as “fresh-caught.” Regardless of the nature of the deception, customers are put at risk. Not only are they conned into buying more expensive items, but they can also be exposed to pathogens or toxins that they would have no reason to expect in their food.

The New York Times recently reported about instances of fake vodka laced with bleach to lighten its color or olive oil contaminated with engine oil to extend the supply and increase profits. It turns out that food fraud is more widespread than most people realize.