Food fraud happens when food is intentionally misrepresented.
Food fraud mostly occurs for economic or personal gain meaning food businesses or consumers may unknowingly be paying more for a product that is of lower quality or misrepresented.
While food fraud can have an economic impact, it can also pose a health risk, when for example a food allergen is intentionally added to a food product but isn't identified on the label or if a hazardous material is added to food.
Food fraud may happen in different types of food. Examples of foods where it has been most often reported include:
- olive oil
- dry spices
- fruit juices
- organic food products
Attention to food fraud is growing
In Canada, it's prohibited to sell a food that is harmful, unfit for human consumption, or falsely labelled. But intentional misrepresentation still happens and is an emerging issue around the world.
It's hard to know exactly how much food fraud there is in Canada. Globally, food fraud is estimated to cost the global food industry between $10 and $15 billion per year, affecting about 10% of all commercially sold food products, according to the U.S. Grocery Manufacturers Association.
Everyone has a role to play to combat food fraud: industry, government and consumers.
- Types of food fraud
- The CFIA's role in combatting food fraud
- Industry's role in combatting food fraud
- How food fraud impacts consumers
- The CFIA Chronicle – Food fraud
- Notice to Industry – Authenticity of honey in the Canadian marketplace
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