U.S. food fraud may be iceberg's tip

Jan. 23, 2013 at 6:34 PM
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ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Milk, vegetable oils, spices, seafood and lemon juice are vulnerable to food fraud, a U.S. scientific non-profit organization says.

Dr. Jeffrey Moore, senior scientific liaison for the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention and the database's creator and lead analyst, said nearly 800 new cases were added to the organization's food fraud database.

The first iteration of the database compiled 1,300 records of food fraud published between 1980 and 2010. The update increases the total number of records by 60 percent -- and consists mostly of newer information published in 2011 and 2012 in both scholarly journals and general media.

Initial analyses of the database by USP food scientists was published in a Journal of Food Science in April 2012.

Food fraud is a collective term encompassing the deliberate substitution, addition, tampering or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients or food packaging, or false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain, Moore said.

"While food fraud has been around for centuries, with a handful of notorious cases well documented, we suspect that what we know about the topic is just the tip of the iceberg," Moore said in a statement. "The idea behind the database was to shed some light on this largely uncharacterized space by collecting and analyzing the fragmented information in the public domain reported by scholars, regulators and media. Ultimately, we hope the database can be used as a tool by food manufacturers, regulators, scientists and others worldwide to help achieve a safer food supply."

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