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Tips To Protect Yourself Against Food Fraud

Fraudulent practices have long been a problem in commerce. Nearly every industry has fraud and scam issues that hurt the balance and fairness of the open market. One particular industry where it’s often committed is food, which also happens to be one of human’s basic needs.

Food fraud is a term used to describe deliberate fraudulent activity or dishonesty in trading food products or ingredients for economic gain. It’s usually committed when a manufacturer tampers, adds, substitutes, or misrepresents food, ingredients, or packaging.

The effects of food fraud can be quite dangerous, especially if done on a larger scale due to the number of people susceptible to it. It will harm not just the industry but the general public health as well.

However, it can be difficult to estimate its true impact due to how much food fraud activity isn’t identified, especially for businesses. Thus, educating consumers about it is necessary to combat it and protect everyone.

Here are a few tips you can abide by to protect yourself against food fraud.


Be aware of food products associated with food fraud

Knowing which products were involved or linked with food fraud is helpful. That way, you can have the initiative to do some research about them yourself.

Also, you’ll be wary of manufacturers of those foods to watch out for. You may find out that they’ve been involved with a scam before, which will help identify possible food frauds.

According to the National Center for Food Protection and Defense database, fish and seafood fraud are by far the most common food fraud. They’re followed by dairy products and oils consecutively.


Be familiar with nutrition facts

The nutrition label on food products should contain valid facts about contents present. It’s enforced by the law that manufacturers should disclose every ingredient, chemical, or nutrient that’s in any of their food products.

It’s important that brands are transparent about these things because it could affect consumers’ health. There are plenty of instances where a food product was recalled due to brands excluding certain ingredients or nutrient facts about them. 

You can protect yourself against food fraud by being familiar with nutrition facts of the usual food products you purchase. Research about the nutrients or chemicals that are typically found in them so you’ll know if the brand you’re looking at has what it should and doesn’t have what it shouldn’t.


Check for a seal of quality

A seal of quality is the same as a seal of approval from authorities that a food product is of good quality. It’s commonly on the packaging, so buyers can see them right away. However, it’s not something that most people would look at when buying food products. 

Don’t overlook this detail just because the other brand is cheaper, as it could literally spell the difference between being healthy and spending days confined in a hospital bed due to food poisoning.

To really make sure that you are buying from ethical brands, look for a quality seal that proves it. Reputable brands and sources will have a seal that guarantees their quality and authenticity, even for new products. Make sure to also research the image of the seal itself to familiarize yourself.


Stay away from prices that are too low

Know the difference between great discounts and prices that are “too good to be true.” You should be suspicious of food products that are priced ridiculously lower than normal.

A fair market price reflects quality and care, while products that are priced too cheap can mean chances of them being adulterated are high.


Eat and cook whole foods more often

Whole foods are foods that have little to no refinement, additives, or other artificial substances. This means fresh fruits and vegetables or anything that doesn’t have labels listing a lot of ingredients.

The fewer ingredients a food has, the less chance that food fraud will occur. Try and practice eating and cooking more whole foods so you can reduce the chances of becoming a victim of food fraud.


Editor’s Note:

Continue to educate yourself about food fraud for your protection. Be responsible for your own safety and report fraud to help battle it.

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