Food fraud costing shoppers £7bn a yearUp to 10% of food not what it seems, Which? says

24 April 2008

steak with wine

Meat and alcohol are the most common targets of fraud

As much as 10% of the food we buy is not what it seems, a Which? report reveals today.

It’s estimated that food fraud is costing UK shoppers as much as £7bn a year.

Food fraud is where cheap food or alcohol is passed off as top quality produce or when the label lies about the ingredients.

Organic food

Scams include selling conventional meat as organic, adding excessive water without declaring it or selling battery farm eggs as free range.

There have also been instances of premium range products – including coffee, honey and cheese – being diluted with cheaper ingredients.

Food fraudsters have also tried to sell farmed fish as wild, while criminals have also dyed basic olive oil green, using chlorophyll, to make it look like extra virgin olive oil.

Basmati rice

We found cases of fraud occuring where demand starts to outstrip supply – specialist products such as some buffalo-milk mozzarella, Basmati rice and organic produce were adulterated to meet demand.