Feds publish annual food fraud report

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) newly published Food Fraud Annual Report: 2020 to 2021 outlines the results of its enhanced surveillance activities to test the authenticity of 5 foods: honey, fish, olive oil, other expensive oils (such as sesame seed oil , grapeseed oil, coconut oil and others), and spices. Overall, CFIA’s testing showed that 4 of the 5 commodities had satisfactory results above 87 per cent while expensive oils (other than olive oil) had 66 per cent satisfactory results. These 5 foods were selected as they are commonly reported as products likely to be misrepresented.

In 2020 to 2021, the CFIA tested a total of 525 samples for authenticity. Its enhanced targeted sampling yielded the following satisfactory results:

  • 5 per cent honey
  • 2 per cent fish
  • 8 per cent olive oil
  • 2 per cent other expensive oils (such as sesame seed oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, almond oil and others)
  • 9 per cent spices

In instances where the results were unsatisfactory, the CFIA took corrective or enforcement action, including products being removed from Canada, or their detention, destruction, or relabelling. The results of the CFIA’s work are being used to inform future sampling and inspection strategies to better target foods that are more likely to be misrepresented.

Canadian laws prohibit the misrepresentation of food. Mislabelling, adulteration and substitution of food are forms of misrepresentation and may constitute food fraud. To this end, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is helping to ensure food is properly labeled and safe to consume, and that businesses can compete fairly in the Canadian marketplace.

“Retailers understand the importance of consumers having trust in the food they purchase and knowing it is exactly what they pay for. That is why grocery retailers continue to invest in fraud prevention programs to further strengthen measures, and work closely with CFIA, suppliers, manufacturers This study highlights the ongoing need for all partners along the food supply chain to work together to ensure food integrity,” said Jason McLinton, vice president, grocery division and regulatory affairs, Retail Council of Canada

“Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada is a long-standing industry leader in policy and regulatory dialogue with government, advocating for the development of modern and effective regulations that support industry growth, innovation, and competitiveness, without compromising safety and quality. Our members take great pride in the safety and quality of their products; it is their number one priority. We recognize the growing concerns represented by food fraud’s impact on both consumers and business and we fully support the CFIA’s efforts and understand the role industry can play in addressing this critical issue,” said Michi Furuya Chang, senior vice president, public policy & regulatory affairs, Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada

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