Food Quality Magazine July 2016 - Page 5

ISSUE 03 | JULY 2016 Food Quality Magazine The Food Fraud Combat Triumvirate: Vulnerability Management, Market Intelligence, and Detection Methods Bert Popping, Mérieux NutriSciences Corporation and Karen Everstine, United States Pharmacopeial Convention Food fraud - the substitution of less expensive ingredients to increase the profit from food sales - is an age-old problem. Frederick Accum wrote the first known book about food adulteration in 1820. A few decades later, Clarence Darrow, a famous American advocate and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union, coined the phrase “history repeats itself, and that‘s one of the things that‘s wrong with history.” Food fraud has persisted throughout history. At the turn of the 20th century, the New York Evening Post rhymed, “Mary had a little lamb, and when she saw it sicken, she shipped it off to Packingtown and now it’s labeled chicken.” This was in reference to the publication of Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle, which described the disastrous situation in the U.S. meatpacking industry. A little more than a hundred years later, the notorious horsemeat scandal broke in Europe. What is different from the days of Frederick Accum? Looking at the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) Food Fraud Database1 and the European Commission report on Food Fraud2 , the majority of food products mentioned on the title page of Accum’s book are the very same ones prone to food fraud today, including olive oil, spices, wine, and dairy products. What has changed is the sophistication of many of the methods fraudsters use to commit their crimes. The horsemeat incident in 2013 involved simple substitution. In the case of infant formula and fruit juice adulteration, fraudsters have devised adulteration strategies based on Available at www.foodfraud.org http://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/ docs/official-controls_food-fraud_ network-activity-report_2015.pdf 1 2 Figure 1. Title page of Fredrick Accum’s A Treatise on Adulterations of Food and Culinary Poisons (from http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/a-treatise-on-adulteration-of-food-and-culinary-poisons-1820/) 5