Food fraud, as you imagine it, is the substitution of quality food for some not so healthy. It is something that has been on the market for a long time and what you should take care of because it directly affects your health. It is an activity that has gained much prominence in the food industry, mostly for economic purposes.
But, it is time for you to know how to avoid it, because it is a situation that directly affects your health and that of your family, causing different eating disorders or complex diseases.
What is food fraud?
Basically, it is the untimely substitution, dilution, alteration, addition or misrepresentation of food, the ingredients they contain and their packaging, likewise, it can be found in false or misleading labeling. All of these actions are capable of negatively affecting your health.
The acts committed in these activities are very varied, they usually happen in the different manufacturing processes in companies. Some of them are:
- The replacement. As indicated, it is just replacing an ingredient or part of a product with another, in most cases, of lower quality.
- Dilution, is a process where high-value ingredients are mixed with others of lesser quality, in this way they can increase the volume of the mixtures and lighten the price.
- Mislabeling, are all the times false statements are placed on the labels or packaging, promising quality or results that are not true.
- Cloaking, this is common in products dedicated to people who want to have a healthy and fat-free diet, to improve sales they hide part of the nutritional information such as real fat, calories or carbohydrates in it.
- Imitation, surely you have seen those products that imitate the model, name or style of a specific brand.
One of the basic characteristics of food fraud is that the safety hazard is not identified, some adulterants are mixed with water or ingredients that can be used legitimately and declared.
Regulation regarding food fraud (official controls)
To begin with, according to the Spanish Food Code, food fraud is defined as all foods to which a substance has been added or subtracted that varies its composition, volume or weight and is a practice for fraudulent purposes or to cover up a defect due to poor quality or altered.
Based on the above, Royal Decree 1945/1983 regulates infractions and sanctions to defend the consumer from the poor production of their food. Therefore, all practices related to food fraud are prohibited. However, the decree will apply in cases where the crime conforms to the following concept:
“ Addition or subtraction of any substance or element to vary its composition, structure, weight or volume for fraudulent purposes, to correct defects through processes or procedures that are not expressly and legally authorized or to cover up the inferior quality or alteration of the products used”
However, to avoid this, the Law of the Congress of Deputies made the proposal that the controls on the power plants be increased. Likewise, the steps to have the corresponding labels are more rigorous every day to avoid any damage.
Seriousness of food fraud
In the case of industries, not taking the measures indicated for the prevention of food fraud will result in a considerable loss of money. Because, in case the law notices it, the first step will be to return the entire lot that has been sold back to the plant, eliminate it and do it again with the indicated care and procedures.
In addition, when the public is misled by a brand, they often begin to express unpleasant opinions that will reduce the visibility and credibility of the brand. Over time, wanting to save a little will be what will cause it to break.
On the other hand, in relation to the consumer, health problems can begin to sprout. This will also create a negative impact on the industry, as it will have to take responsibility for the damage it has caused.
Learn to prevent fraud
Now that you know some of the most common examples of food fraud, it is time for you to stay alert to avoid falling for them . Clearly, it’s not an easy task because sometimes brands are pretty good at hiding important information. To know it, you must consider certain factors that will determine the vulnerability of a product to fraud.
In the first place, the quality control of the raw material will always depend on the adulteration or purity and the conditions in which it is received. To avoid acquiring raw materials that may affect you as a company, or knowing the ingredients used by a specific brand, it is recommended that you look for the fraud history of the delivery company.
Since the appearance of food fraud there are certain official controls that warn that there have already been problems with a specific industry. Therefore, avoid consuming food allied to it.
Assess feed composition
Easily, you should compare the final price with the ingredients shown in the nutritional table, no product made up of excellent quality ingredients is excessively cheap. Here you could identify the possibility that there was an impersonation of ingredients.
Another common fraud is that the content of the product is less than that indicated on the label, this you can easily find out when weighing it. It should always have a few grams more than that of the packaging, whether plastic or any other material, if, on the contrary, it is less or exact, we recommend that you change the brand.
The state of conservation
We must point out that this is the most dangerous type of fraud and that it can further compromise the health of consumers, when potentially innocuous products are made available, greater care must be taken.
It is necessary to ensure that all packages are at the temperature and type of storage indicated to preserve their content. If when you go to acquire it you see that the conditions are not the most careful, we recommend that you do not buy it. We advise, if you have a company in the food sector and you want to preserve the quality of your product with the correct food indicators, seek advice from specialists in question. Here at Laboratorio Calitec we offer you analytical services and quality advice so that your company can prevent food fraud.