Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

Not A Boring Vanilla Kind Of Life

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis

There are high fines for a company caught in a vanilla adulteration case.

Vanilla, Madagascar, food fraud
Find records of fraud such as those discussed in this column and more in the Food Fraud Database, owned and operated by Decernis, a Food Safety Tech advertiser. Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

Vanilla is one of the most popular and expensive flavoring ingredients, used in ice cream, dairy, beverages, baked goods and more. Its smooth, warm taste and ability to enhance other flavors make it a sought-after element in cooking and baking worldwide. Insufficient natural sources, impacted by adversary weather events, are unable to keep up with an increasing demand. As a result, what is labeled as “pure vanilla” is occasionally adulterated with ingredients that are not derived from vanilla beans, but either synthetic or made from other plant or even animal sources. In the case of on Australian retail company, the vanilla extract was mislabeled as “pure” with a picture of vanilla plant parts shown on the label, misleading consumers. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission issued a hefty fine after two infringement notices.


  1. ACCC Media Team. (December 23, 2021). “HBC Trading pays penalties for allegedly misleading Chef’s Choice alcohol free ‘pure’ vanilla extract claims”. Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis

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