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Dealing with Food Fraud

A Review of Existing Definitions and Strategies for the Prevention of Food Fraud, Established in Legal Regulations Focusing on Germany’s Major Trading Partners

Aline Wisniewski, Anja Buschulte


Although food fraud has existed for ages it is difficult to estimate the extent of this problem because the number of documented cases is probably only a small fraction of its real dimension. In some cases food fraud can pose a serious risk to public health, as demonstrated by the melamine scandal in China in 2008. However, even if there is no direct harm to human health, this form of deliberate fraud can lead to the loss of consumers’ confidence and economic distortions. Unfortunately, even today, there is still no legal definition of food fraud either in the European Union or Germany that describes this term in detail. Against this background the first part of this article discussed the laws and regulations for food fraud in Germany and in the European Union. In this second part, the laws and regulations of the most important international trading partners of Germany, such as Brazil, the USA, China and Turkey, are examined more closely showing whether the respective countries have a definition of the term food fraud, whether the term is used explicitly in their laws and regulations and what penalties fraudsters can expect. Since only a small part of the goods can be checked when they are imported into Germany, it is important to ensure that the trading partners have comparable regulations to combat food fraud.

Aline Wisniewski is a specialist in German studies and a Veterinarian and has been researching in the field of food fraud at the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment since 2016. Dr. med. vet. Anja Buschulte, EBVS® European Specialist in Veterinary Public Health, works as a Senior Scientist at the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment.

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