Food fraud is a serious problem across Germany
Counterfeiting can be used to earn easy money in many market segments at the expense of consumers. Therefore, a certain amount of caution is required when shopping, but many people are not aware of the fraudulent methods of the manufacturers when it comes to food. According to the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL), the spectrum ranges from colored salad oil to rice made of plastic.
The BVL is currently offering its own “counterfeiting workshop” at the International Green Week in Berlin to look at the tricks of the food fraudsters. This shows which methods the manufacturers use to achieve a financial advantage. Sprayed shrimps or colored salad oil are just a few examples from a whole series of fraudulent options.
Counterfeiting workshop illustrates the procedure
According to the BVL, the "examples of food counterfeiting and fraud fall into the categories fraudulent to dangerous." The food counterfeiters willfully deceive consumers in order to gain financial or economic benefits. The BVL will demonstrate how this happens at its booth at the International Green Week. In their small counterfeiting workshop, BVL employees show which methods the fraudsters use to achieve their exorbitant profit margins.
Many possibilities of food counterfeiting
According to the experts, for example, unauthorized additives are used for food deceptions or goods are declared incorrectly. For example, salad oil is colored with chlorophyll and sold as olive oil, or shrimp are sprayed with gel to increase weight. Supposedly high-quality game fish is often by no means noble, but redeclared inexpensive fish and conventionally produced food are sold as organic food. Some honey is stretched with sugar and rice is replaced by imitation rice made of plastic, reports the BVL. The list of options is long and the extreme profit attracts more and more food fraudsters.
Horse meat scandal cause for countermeasures
One of the major fraud cases in the past few decades was the horse meat scandal in 2013, which prompted the BVL and the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture to draw up “a national strategy to combat food fraud”, which involves all relevant actors. Not only should better control be achieved, but also developments in the area of food fraud should be recognized at an early stage and preventive measures should be taken to put an end to the often global fraudsters, reports the BVL. "Unlike many pure labeling violations, which are punished by the official food surveillance with a fine, food fraud can also be a fraud and thus a crime within the meaning of the Criminal Code," the Federal Office further emphasizes. (fp)