Tag Archives: Pliny the Elder

Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

Food And Drug Fraud, As Old As Humanity

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food fraud, herbs and spices
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

In all of human history, adulteration and fraud followed closely in the footsteps of new products, and herbs, spices and drugs are no exception. Even 2000 years ago, Pliny the Elder described adulteration. In ancient Athens, inspectors monitored the authenticity of wine. Scientific methods were first applied by Archimedes, and started to be utilized more by the end of the 17th century. In the 1850s, heightened public awareness and the demand for higher product quality raised anti-adulteration movements and increased enforcement.


1. Foster, S. (2011). “A Brief History of Adulteration of Herbs, Spices, and Botanical Drugs”. American Botanical Council.