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Food Fraud

Increase of food fraud during COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused challenges in the food supply chain, partially due to the shift in supply and demand. While some food manufacturers are left with tremendous surpluses, others are struggling to keep up with their customer’s demands.

For manufacturers who have seen an increase in demand, goods such as rice and meat are being purchased from other/new regions. There have also been cases where meats are diluted with cheaper cuts.

As manufacturers are finding themselves in a precarious position where their products are in high demand, delivery bottlenecks and shortages from suppliers is occurring. As a result of this, less attention may be given to the supply chain integrity, which opens the door for new suppliers to submit inferior goods to the manufacturers. This may lead to an inferior product prone to adulteration reaching the supermarket shelf.

The horsemeat scandal in 2013 has opened the world’s eyes to food fraud. To prevent another scandal of this magnitude, it is important to keep fraudsters at bay, because besides the consumer receiving an inferior product for their money, products may be diluted with an ingredient not suitable for human consumption.

Food Fraud however, is an umbrella term which can stretches beyond the adulteration of a product. Misrepresentation on the labelling, substituting an ingredient, tampering, or adding unmentioned products to a food are all seen as fraudulent behaviour.

Foodstuffs sold within the EU are protected by various legislations. These are in place to prevent foreign substances from occurring in the food, as well as to ensure that the labelling of the product is accurate. When a product is imported, these regulations do not apply, and thus potential fraud is a possibility.

Retailers and manufacturers partner with laboratories such as Tentamus Group members in order to inspect products for food fraud. This ensures that the customer receives the product they pay for, which subsequently prevents product recalls.

Entities such as the Tentamus Center for Food Fraud (TCF²) provide testing for food fraud in order to protect honest producers, importers, exporters, traders, and retailers from accidently purchasing fraudulent products.

Food fraud remains an arms race. Fraudsters will always find new creative ways to commit food fraud, and so it is up to us to rapidly wise up to their methods. Using the technology in the Tentamus labs, we are able to pinpoint a food’s country of origin, as well as dissect every ingredient in a sample, including trace elements.

Do you wish to learn more about food fraud? Or do you wish to make use of one of our services? Get in touch with our food fraud expert.



Arne Dübecke
Head of Tentamus Center for Food Fraud (TCF2)
+49 421 596 607 37


Source: The Grocer

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