USDA Certified Organic foods keep enjoying a robust growth, with fruit and vegetables leading, followed by dairy and beverages. Fraudulent organic certification is a growing problem, especially because food supply chains are becoming more complex, with a large amount of organic food now being imported. Violations by fraudulent organic certification are punishable by hefty fines and can be reported to the National Organic Program Online Complaint Portal.
The popularity of plant-based protein powders has skyrocketed, and so has fraudulent activity with so-called protein boosting adulterants. Examples are a variety of beans, such as fava beans, as well as wheat, maize, alfalfa and more. Due to the rapid innovation and development of novelty supplements, regulatory standards are in urgent need of overhaul. Correct ingredient investigation in commercial plant-based protein powders is therefore a must and was investigated in this study with three different diagnostic tools.
When we talk about the identification of fraudulent foods and beverages, many elaborate methods are available in analytical chemistry and food labs. The method of using “whiskey webs” is quite unusual in its simplicity; it is based on the unique residue left behind by each beverage after evaporation. American Whiskey is matured in new charred oak barrels that transfer a number of water-insoluble components into the final product, allowing each whiskey to leave behind its own unique “fingerprint”.
Diethylene glycol (DEG) is a substance that is highly toxic to humans. It is used in a wide range of applications, such as brake fluid and as a raw material for resins, and it is often present in antifreeze. In Brazil, more than a dozen people were poisoned by beer containing DEG. The suspected products were recalled and the case is under investigation. It is not clear yet whether the DEG was intentionally added to commit fraud, or whether the contamination was unintentional. We are observing this case very closely, since diethylene glycol has been used for fraudulent purposes in beverages in the past.
Over the course of three years, wholesale meat fraudsters in Brooklyn, NY, removed the USDA stamp on “Choice” beef and applied a counterfeit USDA “Prime” stamp to sell the fraudulently labeled meat at a premium price. A conviction can get the defendants a prison sentence of up to 20 years, even public health was not endangered, however, the USDA is taking integrity and quality of food very seriously.
A large recall was initiated by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply for Brazilian olive oil unfit for human consumption, and retailers and traders are requested to report and pull faulty products off the shelves. Large fines will be issued for non-compliance. The fake olive oils are sold very cheaply, but may be a health hazard. An infrared analysis was made to check the composition of fatty acids, which uncovered the fraud.
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