Science - June 21, 2017

EU and China investigate food fraud

Albert Sikkema

The EU and China have established a joint research project to deal with food fraud. WUR will lead a partial study of the origin of food.


Food fraud is a growing international problem that costs the food industry about 52 billion dollars a year. Examples are the horsemeat scandal in Europe and the melamine scandal in China. According to the EU-China-Safe policy, an international approach is needed to reduce this fraud. The two partners are going to align their regulations and use modern technology to trace fraud more quickly.

WUR is going to coordinate the partial project on food authenticity, in other words the origin of food. The project leader Saskia van Ruth of Rikilt is going to share the innovative technology used to trace food fraud with the research partners and will demonstrate best practices. She will focus specifically on spices, processed meat, babyfood, biological vegetables and wine. And, together with European and Chinese partners, she will research the causes of food fraud and the factors contributing to it.

The total project to reduce food fraud will cost 10 million euros and will be done by a consortium of 33 partners from the food industry, research organizations and the Chinese and European governments.