Type of Fraud
Three terms are used to categorize the type or nature of food fraud reports in the Database; “Replacement”, “Addition of”, or “Removal.
Replacement is used to describe incidents resulting in the complete or partial replacement of a food ingredient or valuable authentic constituent with a less expensive substitute. This is typically achieved through the dilution or extension of an authentic ingredient by adding an adulterant or mixture of adulterants with the intention of circumventing standard measures for quality control. One example is the addition of melamine to milk to artificially increase apparent protein contents. Other examples are the addition of water and citric acid to lemon juice to fraudulently increase the titratable acidity of the final juice product. This category also includes false claims and non-declarations including:
- False declaration of geographic, species, botanical, or varietal origin. Examples include the substitution of less expensive cow's milk for sheep's or goat's milk. It can also include false declaration of origin to evade taxes or tariffs, for example the import of catfish into the USA from Vietnam labeled as grouper to avoid anti-dumping duties or trans-shipment of Chinese shrimp through Indonesia to avoid anti-dumping duties.
- False declaration of production process such as the fraudulent labeling of a synthetically derived flavor chemical as being “naturally” derived.
Addition is used to describe incidents resulting in the addition of small amounts of a non-authentic substance to mask inferior quality ingredient. An example is the addition of a color additive to paprika to enhance the color of poor quality materials.
Removal is used to describe incidents resulting in the removal of an authentic and valuable constituent without the purchasers' knowledge. For example, the removal of non-polar constituents from paprika (e.g. lipids and flavor compounds) is done to produce paprika-derived flavoring extracts. The sale of the resulting “defatted” paprika, which lacks valuable flavoring compounds as normal paprika, is a fraudulent practice.