Spain is the country that most suspected food fraud has reported
In the 2017 annual report published by the European Commission (EC) on cases of food fraud, Spain is the country that has sent the most applications to the Administrative Assistance and Cooperation System (CAA). This increase is due to a greater involvement of the state in the control of the online sale of processed foods in Spain.
The number of product control requests has grown throughout Europe. Spain occupies the first position with 52 applications and 29 requests attended by the CAA. There are unattended requests as of February 12, 2018 that have yet to issue a verdict on the product.
When the ACC analyzes the requests issued by the member countries, they can be classified in three ways: void, Non-compliant without danger to Health or Food Fraud.
To evaluate a food there are 4 criteria that the CAA considers. Although these criteria are not codified in the legislation, the Member States and the ACC use these parameters to address food fraud.
The criteria are:
- Legislation. Violation of one or several laws included in the food and feed legislation of the European Union.
- Intention. Non-accidental breaches, which by means of evidence corroborates a hidden intent.
- Benefit. Obtain economic benefit from any breach found as not accidental.
- Consumer Expectations. It implies some form of deception to the consumer about the quality or nature of the product, since they confuse, deceive and even cause a risk to their health.
For a request to be classified as Nonconformity, it is sufficient that it does not respect one of the above criteria. In order to be considered a Food Fraud, you must breach all four.
Europeans qualified in 2017 of Nonconformity reach a total of 597, while in 2016 only 87 were detected. Regarding cases of Food Fraud, they amount to 178 cases, although other alarm systems count up to 240 cases.
We will highlight some of the most significant fraud cases of 2017
- In the summer of 2017 the illegal use of fipronil was detected in poultry farms that caused the contamination of meat and eggs.
- Painted tuna and fresh tuna. In 2016 and 2017, several cases of the sale of canned tuna as fresh have been detected. Canned tuna is sold between 4 and 6 euros per kilo, while fresh for 12 and 15 euros per kilo. It is estimated that this practice has been a benefit of 200 million euros per year. The practice of changing the color of canned tuna through vegetable extracts and salts was also detected to make it look fresher and, thus, sell it more expensive.
- Adulteration of beeswax. In 2017, it was detected that beeswax intended as a base for honey panels could be adulterated with paraffin and stearin to obtain greater economic benefits.