Food Fraud: A Growing Fraud Issue that Puts Lives at Risk

There are increasing instances of food fraud that are putting peoples’ lives at risk. One reason for this is that international makes it challenging to control every aspect of a product’s production. Like all types of fraud, regulators and food industry experts agree that food fraud is a problem within Canada, though they don’t know how widespread it actually is.

One of the biggest cases of food fraud investigated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), was the mislabeling of produce as a “Product of Canada”, when it had been imported from Mexico.  Mucci Marketing International Inc., Mucci Pac Ltd., and two company directors were convicted on eight counts of contravening section 5(1) of the Food and Drugs Act, section 7(1) of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, and section 17(a) of the Canada Agricultural Products Act. They had to pay $1.5 million in fines and were sentenced to three years of probation.

While high-profile investigations like this one bring attention to food fraud, they do not highlight the health risks of other types of food fraud, such as cross-contamination or undeclared allergens. However, academics are testing DNA sequencing technology for combating food fraud that pose a health risk to people with allergies. Regulators, such as the CFIA may eventually adopt the technology.