The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a new website on economically motivated adulteration (EMA), including food fraud. The purpose of the website is to keep businesses and consumers informed on the latest food fraud developments.
The website includes links on how to report food fraud; examples of food adulteration; how food fraud is detected and monitored; enforcement and legal consequences, such as recalls, seizures, and import refusals; guidance documents to assist manufacturers and importers; and a list of import alerts.
EMA occurs when "someone intentionally leaves out, takes out, or substitutes a valuable ingredient or part of a food," according to the FDA. EMA also occurs when a substance is added to a food to make it appear better or of greater value.
Food fraud is a common type of EMA that the FDA investigates, but EMA also occurs with other products, including animal food and cosmetics. Some types of EMA are also misbranding violations.
Estimating how frequently food fraud occurs or its exact economic impact can be challenging because food fraud is designed to avoid detection. Outside estimates by experts have found that food fraud affects 1 percent of the global food industry at a cost of approximately $10–$15 billion per year, although more recent expert estimates peg the cost as high as $40 billion per year.
Food fraud can also lead to major health issues and even death. Some examples include lead poisoning from adulterated spices and allergic reactions to a hidden or substituted ingredient that contains a small amount of just one food allergen.
Click here to visit FDA's new EMA website.