Policies to Proactively Address the Threat of Food Fraud

Food fraud presents a threat to the health of American consumers. Food fraud is the intentional misrepresentation of food products or ingredients for economic gain. Although not intended to cause illness, food fraud incidents have resulted in consumer illnesses and deaths. Furthermore, they cause considerable economic losses to industry, and the public health response requires substantial resource allocation by regulatory and public health agencies.

The true scope of food fraud is not known, but it is known that it has occurred in a variety of ways and in a wide array of food products. Due to the intentional nature of food fraud, the threat will not be adequately addressed through strategies designed to control unintentional food contamination. The increased risks created by an increasingly globalized food supply require policies that foster innovative and multidisciplinary solutions for food protection. The threat of food fraud will require innovative approaches to risk assessment and the use of methods and data from a variety of disciplines. Strategic collaborations and information sharing among regulatory agencies, the food industry, academic organizations, and nonprofit groups are necessary for constructing a holistic solution to the problem of food fraud. Ultimately, food fraud prevention efforts must be industry- driven, but these efforts must be based on collaborative research and development.