Food adulteration

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Campden BRI, Chipping Campden, United Kingdom

In 1820 the German Chemist Fredrich Christian Accum published, ‘A Treatise on Adulterations of Food, and Culinary Poisons’, which described various practices leading to the adulteration of food and analytical methods to detect them. Almost 200 years later examples of similar types of adulteration are still being reported and food-adulteration is an issue confronting both the consumer and honest food businesses. This article considers food adulteration from the point of view of a food business as the victim and the steps which a food business can take to minimise the risk. Essentially adulteration is perpetrated for one of two reasons: fraud to secure economic gain (food fraud) of to directly damage the business through extortion and/or sabotage.

“Food Fraud” (sometimes referred to as economically motivated adulteration) was defined by Spink and Moyer as ‘the deliberate and intentional substitution, addition, tampering, or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients, or food packaging; or false or misleading statements made about a product, for economic gain’. It usually involves one or more of the following: enhancement of a desi ...