Notice: EU Draft Resolution to Adopt a Definition of Food Fraud – Quoting our Definition

Written by: John Spink

Primary Source: Food Fraud Initiative

EU draft resGet ready for government regulations addressing Food Fraud Prevention.  The EU is defining Food Fraud, with a focus on prevention.  This is a broad, holistic frame that covers all types of fraud conducted using food.  This focus on Food Fraud and on prevention is consistent with other groups such as ISO, Interpol, and the Global Food Safety Initiative.  It’s fantastic that we’re honing in on a harmonized set of terms and concepts before we all finish writing laws or implementing industry best practices.

The European Parliament created a Draft Resolution outlining a five-point plan following the “horsemeat fraud” scandal:European Parliament (2013). Draft Report – on the food crisis, fraud in the food chain and the control thereof, Rapporteur (Chair): Esther de Lange, Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, (2013/2091(INI), October 10, 2013.

In this Draft Resolution there is a very interesting, broad focus beyond adulteration and beyond just human food.  They identify a wide range of activities including food and feed law, animal health, and plant health.  They also discuss the specific roles of the disciplines of Food Safety and Food Law.

“…having  regard to the proposal for a regulation on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health, plant reproductive material [and] plant protection products.”

One of their recommendations is that the EU and Member States adopt a common definition of Food Fraud.

“Notes that EU law does not currently provide a definition of food fraud and that Member States adopt different approaches; considers a uniform definition to be essential for developing a European approach to combating food fraud; stresses the need rapidly to adopt a harmonized definition at EU level, including elements such as 1) non-compliance with food law and/or misleading the consumer, 2) intent and 3) financial gain;”

When they proposed a definition of Food Fraud they quote one of our peer-reviewed, academic articles:

“According  to Spink and Moyer, ‘Food fraud is a collective term used to encompass the deliberate and intentional substitution, addition, tampering, or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients, or food packaging; or false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain.”

The Food Fraud and prevention concepts are taking root around the world and in proposed laws.  To increase public health – and not just assure compliance — it is logical to take a holistic, all-encompassing approach to prevention.  It looks like Food Fraud laws and industry best practices are coming sooner rather than later.  Fortunately there is a harmonization of terms and focus.  Also, fortunately there are a wide range of resources available before organizations begin developing their strategies.  If you are seeking more information consider our next free, online Food  Fraud Overview MOOC, with  live, 2-hour webinars on November 12 and 19 , 2013 from 8 to 10 am US Eastern Time (and recorded sessions if you can’t make the live session).  JWS

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John Spink
Dr. Spink has been focused on product fraud since the Michigan State University’s Food Safety Program and the School of Packaging began research on the topic in 2006. This work expanded to the behavioral sciences and criminology and led to the establishment of the Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection Initiative in 2008. In 2009 the work shifted to the School of Criminal Justice where the Initiative evolved into a Program.