Editorial Article: Special Editorial Feature – Global Food Fraud and Safety

22 Apr 2014

SelectScience has today launched a Special Editorial Feature about the global issue of Food fraud and Safety. Featuring interviews and opinion from the world’s leading food scientists, this exclusive two-month report discusses the role of science in ensuring future food integrity.

In recent years, news headlines from around the world have been full of scandals involving food adulteration and contamination. Food fraud is demonstrating itself as an emerging risk given the increasingly global and complex nature of food supply chains. Recent stories such as the European horsemeat scandal, the Chinese milk crisis and the US honey laundering story have brought this issue to the forefront of consumers’ minds.

Professor Chris Elliott, Director of the Institute for Global Food Safety, Queen’s University Belfast said: “In the UK we import over 50% of our food, while in the United States the fish they eat comes from international imports, so it is truly global. With these global supply chains there is more opportunity for contamination, and more opportunity for food fraud.”

The Global Response to Food Crime
One of the greatest problems facing food forensics is that consumers can't always tell when they're being defrauded. The scientific community is leading the fight in making sure that the public have confidence in what they are eating.

John Spink, Director and Assistant Professor, Food Fraud Initiative, Michigan State University commented: “The response to prevent food fraud really does need to be global, and it really does need to be through a law enforcing type agency.”

Economically Motivated Food Adulteration
As well as food supply globalization making detection harder and adulteration easier, the rise in food costs has led to an increased temptation to commit food fraud to keep prices down, even at the cost of safety and integrity.

Dr. Junshi Chen, Senior Advisor to the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment, said: “The food business is trying to make more money from food products, so there is a trend of a very common practice that’s called food fraud, or in China, food adulteration. That means to add something into food for economic purposes. Melamine in milk is one of these well known cases.”

Throughout the next eight weeks, SelectScience will be interviewing experts from around the globe, investigating the current issues and testing methods, the problems facing the food supply chain and what needs to happen in the future.

Come back each week and watch the videos to see what new techniques and methods leading food scientists from around the world are using to detect food adulteration.

Visit the SelectScience Food Fraud Special Feature >>