Guide to Preventing Economically Motivated Food Fraud


The guide advises companies on steps to prevent economically motivated adulteration (EMA) at the ingredient level.

Economically motivated food adulteration-such as the addition of non-authentic substances-is a serious concern in the food industry, one with historic risks to public health. To help food companies create preventive strategies to avoid economically motivated food fraud, the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention has released a draft of a first-of-its-kind guidance, called


The guidance advises companies on steps to prevent economically motivated adulteration (EMA) at the ingredient level, including how to assess factors that increase the risk of adulteration happening, such as economic anomalies (supply shortages and ingredients costing less than they typically should), geopolitical anomalies (lack of food-control and regulatory systems in parts of the world), and supplier relationships. “The real challenge in preventing EMA is its unpredictable nature, and our guidance represents a leap forward in overcoming this hurdle,” said Jeff Moore, PhD, USP’s senior scientific liaison, in a press announcement.

The guidance addresses one type of food fraud in particular: the fraudulent addition of non-authentic substances or the removal or replacement of authentic substances for economic gain, all done to avoid detection by the purchaser. It does not, however, address other types of food fraud, such as counterfeits and product tampering. It also includes historic examples of economically motivated food fraud, such as recent incidents involving whey protein (adulteration with vegetable proteins or highly nitrogenous compounds such as melamine) and fruit juice concentrate (the addition of beet sugar to “unsweetened” orange juice concentrate).

The guidance will be published as an appendix to USP’s Food Chemicals Codex. USP will accept public comments on the guidance draft between December 31, 2014, and March 31, 2015, via its FCC Forum.


Jennifer Grebow
Nutritional Outlook magazine



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