Earlier this month, the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) unveiled its most recent Scientific Information Bulletin (SIB) which focuses on food fraud.

The SIB is meant to provide an introduction to the issue of food fraud, a review of incidents, the fundamentals of prevention and insights into the optimal role of food science and technology.

“Food fraud is one of the most active global food industry and regulatory issues. Food companies and agencies are being held accountable by consumers and agencies for food fraud prevention, regardless of a traditional focus on public health risks. Beyond the potentially catastrophic economic impact of a recall or manufacturing shut-down, corporate officials are being held personally criminally liable for incidents. For these and many reasons discussed in the SIB, there has been an intense focus on food fraud research and specifically on prevention.

Food fraud is illegal deception for economic gain using food. The broad types of incidents include adulterant-substances (including dilution, substitution, concealment, etc.), tampering, theft, diversion or gray market, over-runs or unauthorized production, and simulations and intellectual property rights counterfeiting. While the greatest health hazard is usually from adulterant-substances and counterfeits, reducing the fraud opportunity is the most efficient focus for prevention of the fraud act by a human actor.”

The SIB goes into detail about how, without a standard approach to food fraud prevention, incidents are becoming more prevalent than ever. Traditional detection methods are failing because they do not look for health hazards. The bulletin suggests a three-prong approach--detection, deterrence and prevention--to tackle the worldwide food fraud problem.

The SIB was prepared by John Spink, MS, PhD, director of the Food Fraud Initiative, assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, on behalf of and approved by the IUFoST Scientific Council. The SIB presents the latest authoritative science on emerging and headline food science issues. It is produced by IUFoST experts for legislators, consumers, food science departments and the more than 300,000 members of IUFoST Adhering Bodies worldwide.

Download the complete SIB at IUFoST.org.

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