Vanilla Fraud Found in France

In 2019, France’s Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs, and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) began an investigation to determine whether vanilla products and vanilla-flavored foodstuffs complied with the necessary regulations. The results are being shared now, and instances of vanilla fraud and misleading consumers were found. Producing vanilla is a very time and labor-intensive process which makes vanilla a target for fraud. With demand outstripping supply, the DGCCRF considers vanilla a high-risk ingredient in terms of fraud. An examination of 22 vanilla pod samples showed that one in four didn’t comply with regulations, and in some cases spent vanilla bean pods had been dipped in vanilla aroma to make them appear fresh and unused. Vanilla powder was also examined and found to be mainly synthetic vanillin. Only one out of two vanilla extracts complied with regulations. Nearly half of the natural vanilla flavor products sampled were found to be non-compliant as well.

Many vanilla-flavored foodstuffs were also found to be incorrectly labeled or otherwise misleading to the consumer. The DGCCRF’s testing indicated a 23% rate of non-compliance among vanilla products and foodstuffs tested. Following the report, 36 warnings and 4 administrative fines were issued.

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Picture Credit Susanne Kuehne

Posted on 8 February 2022