What Does Food Fraud Taste Like?

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Honey Any suggestion that a customer might not be getting exactly what they’ve paid for is a sure-fire way to stir up their concerns and shake their confidence in quality assurance. It’s also bad for business, which is why Sysco Quality Assurance goes to such great lengths to ensure that we deliver on our promises.

Food fraud unfortunately continues to affect everyone in the industry, from small operators to million-dollar enterprises. Detecting and fighting food fraud requires constant vigilance — not just by regulatory agencies like the FDA, but by reputable distributors and vendors, too.

Common food fraud schemes often involve one or more of the following techniques.

  • Substitution: Attempting to pass off a common, low-value product as a more expensive, premium one. Frequent counterfeit foods include varieties of seafood, cheese, honey, candy and soda. 
  • Adulteration: Mixing a valuable commodity with quantities of older, cheaper or bulkier goods to add volume at the expense of value. Honey can be diluted with corn syrup, for example, or olive oil with seed oil.
  • Short weight: Even very slight differences between a product’s advertised weight and actual weight can add up to a considerable volume and a significant value. Certain products, especially seafood, can easily be misrepresented by including too much water (e.g., over-soaking) or ice (e.g., over-glazing) in the measurement.

The importance of quality assurance departments in fighting food fraud cannot be overstated. With careful countermeasures including regular inspections, random sampling and product testing, incidents of food fraud can be minimized or altogether eliminated. That’s part of the Sysco advantage — quality you can count on from a name you can trust.