Honey production increased by a phenomenal 88% in China between 2000 and 2014, despite an increase in the number of beehives by 21% during the same period. This is said to be due to the harvesting of ‘unripe’ honey: the honey is removed from hives while still very watery, then it is artificially dried. China is the world’s biggest honey producer and provides a significant proportion of Europe’s honey.
Meanwhile, a number of European countries have increased their honey exports at about the same rate as they have increased their imports from China, while there have been no increases in local production. It is alleged that the honey is being fraudulently re-labelled as European-grown honey when it originated in China. Read more about unripe honey and the European honey market here.
The biggest news in Europe in recent weeks has been the growing scandal around the discovery of a toxic pesticide in eggs. The pesticide fipronil is commonly used to control lice and ticks on animals, however it is not allowed to be used in food production chains, including within poultry barns. Eggs in more than 40 countries across Europe and beyond have been found to contain traces of the pesticide. Millions of eggs have been recalled and dumped. It is alleged that the source of the contamination can be traced back to a poultry barn cleaning company that used undeclared pesticide when treating barns in The Netherlands. Two men from the company are being held on suspicion of endangering public health. Read more about the egg scandal here.
Organic and eco-labelled foods are at very high risk of food fraud and as more cases of fraud in these sectors are uncovered there is a risk to consumer trust in sustainable foods according to Ecovia Intelligence.
There has been depressing news from Canada this month, with undeclared meat species found in a wide selection of meat products. Twenty percent of sampled products from the government-commissioned survey contained meat that wasn’t on the label, in quantities that could not be attributed to carry-over from product changeovers. Seven of twenty seven beef sausages contained pork, one of thirty-eight pork sausages contained horse and one third of tested ‘turkey’ sausages contained nothing but chicken.
The citizens of Venezuela have been warned to be wary of meat from dubious sources, after zoo animals were stolen from Zulia Metropolitan Zoological Park in the city of Maracaibo. Ten species, including buffalo and tapirs, have gone missing from the zoo in recent weeks as the population suffers from serious food shortages.
Consumer trust in food producers and processed food is alarming low in the United Kingdom, reports NFU Mutual. Almost three quarters of those surveyed believe food fraud is a widespread problem in the UK.
Want to learn more about food fraud? Try our free training course.