||Speaking at the Naturally Good Expo 2019 in Sydney recently, Food Fraud Advisors Principal Consultant Karen Constable said that the prevalence of food fraud goes deeper than most people realise.“As long as you buy or sell food, as long as your product is expensive in the country it is exported to, as long as there is profit in your product’s making and selling – your product is vulnerable to food fraud,” she said. She defined food fraud as occurring whenever products are sold in a way that ‘deliberately misleads or deceives consumers for financial gain’, for example the adding or removal of substances to the product, misrepresentation (e.g. calling it organic when it’s not) and so on. Along with food fraud comes the risk of the implicated brand and company suffering both financially and in terms of reputation – a situation where prevention is better than any cure. It was also emphasized that even though brands might not know that their products were being fraudulently traded, this was no defence in the eyes of the law.“It is not a defence by law even if a company does not know that fraud is occurring for their product.“[For example], back in 2016, retail outlets in Australia had their on-shelf oregano products tested by CHOICE, where seven out of twelve samples were found to be adulterated with other ingredients. “Many of the brands that were caught did not even know that this was going on, but [after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission stepped in], several of these were prosecuted such as Aldi’s and Hoyt’s who had trusted their supplier and ended up under fire for it,” she said.