Tag Archives: food fraud

Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

Embrace Those Curves

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Near infrared spectroscopy
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

Lab methods for the analysis of adulterated food can be time-consuming, expensive and impossible to use in the field. A new study shows promising results for hand-held near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy tools. The investigated method proved to be very quick and highly accurate, and could open new possibilities for remote testing. This was shown in a study with oregano samples, a common target for food adulteration.

 

 

Resource

  1. Mc Grath, T.F., et al. (to be published on August 15, 2021) “The potential of handheld near infrared spectroscopy to detect food adulteration: Results of a global, multi-instrument inter-laboratory study”. Abstract. Science Direct.
Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

Olive Oil Detectives in the Lab

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Olive tree, 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, an advertiser in Food Safety Tech. Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

Canola oil, sunflower oil or soybean oil, colorants and low-quality olive oil, anyone? Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil adulteration is rampant, since the risk of getting caught is low and the profits are huge. A new expert-reviewed Laboratory Guidance Document on olive oil, published by the Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program (BAPP), lists a variety of laboratory methods at different levels of complexity, as well as the most common methods of adulteration. This Laboratory Guidance Document is an indispensable guide for regulatory and research personnel in the food, supplement and cosmetics industries.

Resource

  1. Mailer, R.J. and Gafner, S. (March 2021). “Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program Publishes Olive Oil Laboratory Guidance Document”. Botanical Adulterant Prevention Program.
Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

Pulling The Plug (Cork) On Wine Fraud

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Wine fraud, Cork, Ireland
Find records of fraud such as those discussed in this column and more in the Food Fraud Database. Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

Tax officials in the Irish city of Cork seized almost 25,000 liters of counterfeit wine, the equivalent of 33,000 bottles. The wine is valued at more than $360,000, which also results in a significant loss in alcohol tax revenue. Investigators are looking into whether this is the largest seizure of counterfeit wine in the past five years. The container passed through the terminal in Cork from the Netherlands and was discovered during an official operation that targets illicit alcohol sales.

Resources

  1. Besser, R. (March 23, 2021). “Ireland confiscates illegal wine, but loses $192,000 in alcohol taxes”. Dublin News.
  2. O’Loughlin, C. (March 18, 2021). “Counterfeit wine worth over €300k seized in Cork”. Irish Independent.
Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

Don’t Let The Cat(fish) Out Of The Bag

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Catfish, food fraud
Find records of fraud such as those discussed in this column and more in the Food Fraud Database. Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

A multinational criminal smuggling ring was involved in the import of mislabeled siluriformes fish, including several species of catfish, into the United States. Import of such fish is prohibited to ensure the safety of the food supply in the United States. The smuggled catfish was labeled and listed on the import paperwork as other types of fish, which was discovered during a customs inspection. Subsequent seizures of shipping containers and warehouses led to the discovery of large amounts of mislabeled fish. The defendants face steep prison sentences.

Resources

  1. White, C. (February 22, 2021). “Catfish smuggling ring busted in New York City”. Seafood Source.
  2. “Four Alleged Smugglers Charged For Importing Banned Catfish Into The United States”. (February 18, 2021). U.S. Department of Justice. U.S. Attorney’s Southern District of New York.
Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

Going Against The (Organic) Grains

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Organic Grain
Find records of fraud such as those discussed in this column and more in the Food Fraud Database. Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

Organic fraud cases are on the increase and often, the criminals get away with these crimes. The USDA-OIG catching a multi-million dollar case like this one represents just the tip of the iceberg. Over the course of five years, the operator of a grain and seed business misrepresented his products as organic, claiming premium prices and defrauding clients of millions of dollars. Transactions for money and documents crossed multiple state lines in the United States through several related business entities. The business owner was sentenced to several years in prison and hefty fines for wire fraud, money laundering, and for defrauding the National Organic Program.

Resource

  1. United States Attorney’s Office District of South Dakota (February 25 2021). “Florida Man Sentenced for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Money Laundering”. The United States Department of Justice.

 

Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

All Bison, No Bull

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Bison
Find records of fraud such as those discussed in this column and more in the Food Fraud Database. Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

Bison and other game meats have become increasingly popular over the course of the past years, and these products have enjoyed an increase in pricing as a result. Bison, deer and beef meats have very similar appearances; in addition, bison and domestic cattle can cross-breed and therefore the meat cannot be distinguished by DNA barcoding alone. To ensure that bison meat was not mixed with other red meat species, a specific polymerase chain reaction method (PCR-SFLP) was used in a recently published study. Out of 45 commercial bison meat samples, three samples showed other meat species, which were not identified on the label.

Resource

  1. Scales, Z.M., et al. (February 3, 2021). “Use of DNA Barcoding Combined with PCR-SFLP to Authenticate Species in Bison Meat Products”. MDPI.

 

Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

The Tale Of The Fraudulent Tail

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Yellowtail
Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

Even relatively small instances of food and beverage fraud can have big consequences, all the way down to retailers. A UK supermarket lost its alcohol license after several bottles of a well-known Australian wine brand turned out to be fake, which was confirmed by the wine producer. The license holder did not assist in finding the reason why the counterfeit bottles showed up at the store, blaming the incident on the employees instead.

Resource

  1. Staff Reporter. (February 12, 2021). “Fake Yellow Tail wine costs UK supermarket its license”. Securing Industry.
Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

The Cherry on Top (But It’s Fraudulent)

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Cherry
Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

China and Hong Kong are big markets for expensive high-end cherries from Tasmania in Australia, usually selling for $12–$3 per pound ($26–$39/kg), and especially popular during the Chinese New Year celebrations. It is estimated that fake fruit outsells the real Tasmanian cherries five-fold, in spite of tracking with specific serial numbers on the genuine cherries’ packaging. In the most recent fraud case, an arrest was made and the seized cherries are under investigation.

Resource

  1. Taylor, P. (February 6, 2021). “Counterfeit Tasmanian cherries seized in Hong Kong”. Securing Industry.
Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

Arrrrr, Rum That Was Not Real

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Counterfeit Rum
Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

Blackbeard the Pirate would have refused to drink this: Counterfeit rum worth more than $4 million was seized by the Spanish police, and 24 criminals were arrested. The imitations were so real that the fake rum even made it into Spanish tax warehouses via the Netherlands. No injuries have been reported thus far. However, counterfeit alcohol often contains toxic methanol which can lead to severe injuries and even death.

Resource

  1. Taylor, P. (January 28, 2021). “Spanish police dismantle national fake rum operation”. Securing Industry.
Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

Getting To The (Expired) Meat

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Fly
Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

Several companies were involved in a warehouse operation that was relabeling expired meat or manipulating its best before dates, re-selling the meat to restaurants and other distribution points. Spanish officials seized 122 tons of meat and arrested more than a dozen people. Food fraud on that level endangers the health and, in some cases, even the lives of consumers and urgently needs to be uncovered and prosecuted.

Resource

  1. Warren, J. (January 25, 2021). “Gang in Spain’s Malaga busted for selling out of date meat to takeaways and restaurants”. The Olive Press.