The role of traceability in food fraud

Miguel Campos – Speciality Food -Notorious wine counterfeiter, Rudy Kurniawan, pocketed an estimated $150 million from fraudulent wine sales in the early 2000’s. Using a DIY workshop, he skilfully modified cheaper wines and relabelled them as prestigious vintages. However, food fraud isn’t an exclusive challenge for premium products. According to the World Customs Organisation (WCO), seven per cent of global trade consists of counterfeit products. Kurniawan’s wine fraud was dubbed the biggest hoax in the history of wine sales, but for the wider food and beverage industry, fraudulent products regularly cost the sector up to US $40 billion per year globally. Food fraud describes any product that is deliberately mislabelled, misrepresented, diluted, tampered with or — in the case of Kuraniawan — substituted with a different product. Unsurprisingly, profit is the primary reason that food products fall foul to this crime, but this doesn’t necessarily mean fraud only affects high-end products. Everyday products like olive oil, honey, milk and coffee are among the most commonly counterfeit foods. Back in 2015, the Italian press revealed large-scale olive oil fraud. Products from seven major olive oil producers were proven to contain significant amounts of lower quality oils and therefore did not meet… continue reading

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