Colored salad oil and rice from plastic - Federal Office warns against food fraud

Food Fraud is a Serious Problem Across Germany
Counterfeiting makes it easy to earn money in many segments of the market at the expense of consumers. Therefore, some caution should be exercised when shopping, but many people are unaware of the fraudulent methods of food manufacturers. According to the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety( BVL), the spectrum ranges from colored salad oil to rice made from plastic.

The BVL is currently offering its own "counterfeiting workshop" at the International Green Week in Berlin an insight into the tricks of food fraudsters. Here's a demonstration of the methods manufacturers use to gain a financial advantage. Sprayed shrimp or colored salad oil are just a few examples of a whole range of fraudulent possibilities.

Gel-sprayed shrimp are just one of many examples of food scams.(Image: Narong Jongsirikul /

counterfeiting workshop illustrates the approach
According to the BVL, the "examples of food counterfei

ting and fraud fall into the categories from fraudulent to dangerous." Food counterfeiters willingly deceive consumers for financial or economic reasonsTo gain advantages. How this is done is illustrated by the BVL at its stand at the International Green Week. In their small counterfeiting workshop, employees of the BVL show the methods fraudsters use to achieve their exorbitant profit margins.

Many possibilities of food counterfeiting
According to the experts, for example, illicit additives are used for the food illusions or goods are declared wrongly. For example, salad oil is dyed with chlorophyll and sold as olive oil, or shrimp are sprayed with gel to increase weight. Supposedly high-quality game fish is often by no means noble but re-declared cheap fish and conventionally produced food would be sold as organic food. Some honey is stretched with sugar and rice replaced by rice imitation plastic, reports the BVL.The list of possibilities is long and the extreme profit attracts more and more food scammers.

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Horsemeat Scandal Reason for Countermeasures
One of the major frauds in the past decades was the horsemeat scandal in 2013 involving the BVL and the Federal MinistryFood and Agriculture led to the creation of "a national food fraud strategy" involving all relevant stakeholders. In this way, not only should better control be achieved, but also developments in the field of food fraud should be identified at an early stage and preventive measures taken in order to stop the often global fraudsters, says the BVL."Unlike many pure labeling violations, which are punishable by the official food control with fine, food fraud can also be a fraud and thus a criminal offense within the meaning of the Criminal Code", the Federal Office emphasizes.(fp)

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