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Food Safety and Food Fraud Newsletter — Quarter 1, 2023

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Our Resource Center features industry articles, webinars and other informative content, curated by our experts.

Fighting Food Fraud: What are government agencies doing?

While food producers are in the best position to monitor and control their raw material supply chains, governments and regulators also have an important role to play in food fraud prevention. These agencies conduct sampling upon import and in the marketplace, define food safety standards and requirements, and evaluate the policies and practices of food producers. Below are some recent food fraud control activities reported by government agencies around the world:

  • Operation Opson is a joint operation between Europol and Interpol to target food crime. Opson XI resulted in the seizure of almost 27,000 MT of illegal foods and beverages, including 15 million liters of alcoholic beverages.
  • The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission released a report Fighting Fraudulent and Deceptive Practices in the Agri-Food Chain, which “aims to help create a common understanding of the different types of fraud that exist and key elements for identifying and tackling fraud when carrying out official controls.”
  • Last year, the U.S. FDA released a report of imported honey sampling and found 10% of 144 samples to be violative using Stable Carbon Isotope Ratio Analysis to test for added sugars.
  • More recently, the JRC release their results of honey testing in the EU using a variety of advanced test methods. They found 46% of 320 samples were “non-compliant with the provisions of the EU Honey Directive.”
  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency released results of food fraud surveillance testing from 2021-2022. The highest percentage of unsatisfactory results were found in honey (22.5%) and “other expensive oils” (35.7%).
  • Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden conducted a joint food fraud threat assessment focused on foods of animal origin, seafood, Nordic origin foods, and organic products.
  • The National Food Crime Unit of the U.K. released their annual update at the end of last year. Operational updates included fraudulent diversion of animal products back into the human food supply chain, the sale of large volumes of meat products fraudulently labeled as British, and smoked “fresh Scottish” salmon that was frozen and Norwegian.
  • Finally, the FAO and the UCLA Resnick Center for Food Law and Policy published a background paper, “International and national regulatory strategies to counter food fraud,” which focuses on regulatory and legal strategies to counter food fraud. The paper states, “notwithstanding the complexities involved in regulating food fraud, national governments need to act and cooperate, if for no other reason than to maintain consumer trust in the safety of their food and in their government.”


Highlights from Ingredient Risk Identification by HorizonScan™

Top Three Commodity Groups with Highest Quarterly Change in Issues: 

Q4 2022 to Q1 2023

Most Reported Issues:

Pesticides or adulteration

Protected: Order – June 20, 2022 @ 04:30 PM

Most Reported Issues:

Listeria or insufficient controls

Most Reported Issue:


Protected: Order – June 20, 2022 @ 04:30 PM
Increasing Food Safety Issue: Pesticide residues in oranges

There has been an increasing number of reports notified by France concerning the detection of pesticide residues in oranges. In the last 12 months, there have been 40 reported incidents. A variety of pesticide residues have been reported, and there are 13 countries considered high risk for pesticide residues in this commodity.

Sources: HorizonScan Hot Source, Q1 2023 and Ingredient Risk Identification by HorizonScan

Food Safety & Fraud in the News

Investigation Uncovers Fake Thai Rice in China
Thai officials filed charges against factories in China for producing fake Thai jasmine rice. The rice was actually a local variety with added flavoring.


Unannounced Visit Leads to Discovery of Alleged Meat Fraud
Three arrests have been made in connection to an investigation of alleged meat fraud by the Food Standards Agency’s National Crime Unit in the UK. The investigation involves pre-packed meat and deli products that were allegedly sourced from South America and Europe, but were labeled as British.

What’s new in the Food Fraud Database?

Ingredients recently added (as of 3/31/23): Cream (Buffalo Milk), Produce (Various or Unspecified), Persian Hogweed, Ajwain, Sunflower Oil (Expeller Pressed), Pork Stock (Dehydrated), Tamari Soy Sauce (Gluten Free, Granulated), Cherry Powder, Anise Powder, Kiwi Powder, Beef Products (Locally Produced), Rice Flour (Glutinous), Pork (Free Range), Animal Feed (for Land Animals), Cocoa-Based Beverages, and Pet Food (Supplements or Treats), and Pet Food (Limited Ingredient).

Ingredient risk identification by HorizonScan™ and Food Fraud Database — Together the highest level of food safety and food fraud risk assessment

HorizonScan™ was developed by top UK scientists at Fera, formerly the Food and Environment Research Agency, a world-leading scientific organization specializing in food and agriculture. FoodChain ID is the exclusive U.S. distributor of HorizonScan.