Science News 09/04/2012

Olive oil, milk, and honey have highest amount of food fraud

Olive oil, milk, and honey are the most commonly adulterated food products, according to new research published in the Journal of Food Science. The study examined 1,504 scholarly records from 1980 to 2010 to tally the results.

Olive oil made up 16 percent of the total records, with 167 records. Milk, honey, saffron, orange juice, and coffee trailed close behind.

Other food adulteration cases have involved making fake scallops made from shark meat and replacing Chinese star anise with the toxic Japanese star anise. Hazelnut oil has been used to replace olive oil, and high-fructose corn syrup is sometimes used to dilute honey.

Journal of Food Science’ research found that 95 percent of food fraud cases involve ingredients replaced with others and was often economically motivated.

The study’s author remarked that food fraud does not receive enough attention, given the danger it poses to consumers. To combat the problem, the researchers have compiled a food fraud database so the issue can be examined by interested parties.

“EMSL Analytical has received an increasing number of requests to analyze food products for adulteration,” states Charles Li, Ph.D., Director of EMSL’s PCR and DNA Analysis Laboratory. “We can quickly authenticate food products with DNA Analysis, using PCR testing. Our methods give us the most precise identification possible and have helped many of our clients, both companies and individuals, determine what a product really is.”

For more information on EMSL’s food testing services, please contact EMSL at (800) 220-3675, email, or visit or

di S. C.