New Database Will Make it Easier to Combat Food Fraud

April 5, 2012

CHICAGO — A new study in the April issue of the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), analyzes products that could be targets for economically motivated adulteration of food and food ingredient fraud.

Food fraud happens when a food ingredient is replaced partially or in whole with something different without the knowledge of the purchaser.

“The vast majority of food fraud is primarily technical and economical,” said study author John Spink, PhD associate director and assistant professor of the anti-counterfeiting and product protection program within the school of criminal justice at Michigan State University. “However, there are some cases where there can be serious health consequences as illustrated when melamine was added to infant formula and pet food in order to falsify the level of protein content in these products.” 

The study authors created a new database of information about known, problematic ingredients and detection methods. After reviewing 1,305 records from 677 references, the researchers found that the most reported targets for adulteration were olive oil, milk, honey, saffron, orange juice, coffee and apple juice.

According to the study, the database of food fraud presented in this research offers a starting point to better understand the scope, scale and threat of food fraud issues. Analysis of the information in this database can help identify problematic ingredients and facilitate the development of innovative detection methods to protect the food supply. This database was published in the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention’s Food Chemicals Codex, 8th edition.

To obtain a copy of the full study, please contact Mindy Weinstein at, 312-604-0231.

Additional resources:
Food Fraud: What Does it Mean and Who is at Risk?
National Center for Food Protection and Defense

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