Food fraud secretly infects America. Here’s how you can avoid it

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The food in your kitchen cabinets may not be what it seems.

“I promise you any time a product is dismissed as more expensive, it will be. It’s that simple,” Larry Olmsted, author of “Real Food/Fake Food,” told CNBC.

Fraudsters motivated by economic gain covertly infiltrate the global food market through various means, including counterfeiting, dilution, substitution and mislabelling.

Not only does this harm consumers’ wallets, but it also puts public health and safety at risk.

Some estimates say that food fraud affects at least 1% of the global food industry at a cost as high as $40 billion a year, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

“We may not know the full impact of food fraud because so much of what fraudsters do is hidden from us and has been for centuries. ” Kristie Laurvick, senior manager of the food program at the US Pharmacopeial Convention, told CNBC.

Even the FDA says they cannot estimate the frequency of this fraud or its economic impact.

“Be aware of the products you put in, on or put the wall in,” John Spink, director of the Food Fraud Prevention Think Tank, told CNBC.

Between 2012 and 2021, the most common types of food fraud lied about animal origin and dilution or substitution, both at a rate of 16% of recorded incidents according to food safety analyst Food Chain ID.

For example, dilution could mean adding cheaper vegetable oil to more expensive olive oil.

“If I drank scotch, I couldn’t tell you [the] difference between a $50 bottle and a $5,000 bottle. So, I know I could be fooled at that point,” Spink said.

The Food Fraud Prevention Think Tank suggests five questions that consumers can ask themselves to reduce the risk of product fraud.

  1. What kind of product is it? Be very careful with any product you put on your body, put in or apply to the wall.
  2. Can you tell the difference between products?
  3. Do you know the seller or supplier? Do you trust them?
  4. Do you shop online? If so, did you find the supplier online from a reliable source?
  5. A complaint. Is the provider legitimate? If so, they’ll want to know.

Watch the video above to learn more about the different types of food fraud, how the industry is preventing risk, what consumers can do and where fraud may occur in olive oil markets. , spices and seafood to hide.

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