Global media as an early warning tool for food fraud; an assessment of MedISys-FF

Hans J.P. Marvin*, Wouter Hoenderdaal, Anand K. Gavai, Wenjuan Mu, Leonieke M. van den Bulk, Ningjing Liu, Gianluca Frasso, Neris Ozen, Chris Elliott, Louise Manning, Yamine Bouzembrak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
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Food fraud is a serious problem that may compromise the safety of the food products being sold on the market. Previous studies have shown that food fraud is associated with a large variety of food products and the fraud type may vary from deliberate changing of the food product (i.e. substitution, tampering, dilution etc.) to the manipulation of documents. It is therefore important that all actors within the food supply chain (food producers, authorities), have methodologies and tools available to detect fraudulent products at an early stage so that preventative measures can be taken. Several of such systems exist (i.e. iRASFF, EMA, HorizonScan, AAC-FF, MedISys-FF), but currently only MedISys-FF is publicly online available. In this study, we analyzed food fraud cases collected by MedISys-FF over a 6-year period (2015–2020) and show global trends and developments in food fraud activities. In the period investigated, the system has collected 4375 articles on food fraud incidents from 164 countries in 41 different languages. Fraud with meat and meat products were most frequently reported (27.7%), followed by milk and milk products (10.5%), cereal and bakery products (8.3%), and fish and fish products (7.7%). Most of the fraud was related to expiration date (58.3%) followed by tampering (22.2%) and mislabeling of country of origin (11.4%). Network analysis showed that the focus of the articles was on food products being frauded. The validity of MedISys-FF as an early warning system was demonstrated with COVID-19. The system has collected articles discussing potential food fraud risks due to the COVID-19 crisis. We therefore conclude that MedISys-FF is a very useful tool to detect early trends in food fraud and may be used by all actors in the food system to ensure safe, healthy, and authentic food.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108961
Number of pages10
JournalFood control
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Early warning system
  • Food fraud
  • MedISys-FF
  • Trend analysis
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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