Do food manufacturers really know what goes into their products? That sounds like a simple question. However, recent news stories about horse meat found in beef products from reputable companies such as Burger King, Nestle and Ikea raise questions not just about whether consumers know what is in a product, but whether manufacturers themselves are aware that they contain adulterated ingredients. 

In the cases of the contaminated meat, it was not the manufacturers who were substituting horse meat in their products, but rather the suppliers who provided them with tainted ingredients.  While manufacturers look for the most affordable way to produce a quality product, suppliers are sometimes providing them with adulterated products for the purpose of achieving their own financial gain. This is called food fraud.

Food fraud encompasses several types of economically motivated adulteration of food products, such as:

  • Making unapproved enhancements
  • Dilution
  • Substitution of ingredients
  • Mislabeling
  • Non-disclosure of additives such as sulfites to hide deterioration
  • Concealment of known damage or infection

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