Phonies, Fakes and Food Fraud - Modern Farmer

Phonies, Fakes and Food Fraud

In this special series, we investigate the wide world of food fraud and fakery—and explore the technology poised to make supply chains more transparent.

Illustrations: Rose Garrett / Modern Farmer

How do you know that what you’re eating is what you think it is?

Most consumers aren’t thinking about fraud in their food supply while pushing a cart around their local grocery story. But shady shenanigans, fakery, and outright fraud happen more than you might realize.

In this Modern Farmer feature series, we investigate the wide world of food fraud and fakery—and explore the technology poised to make supply chains more transparent.


It’s Time to Stop Underestimating the Scope of Food Fraud

by Karen Constable

Food fraud affects much more than consumers know, and not just in high-cost foods like honey and whiskey. It occurs in all parts of the food chain, including commodities such as grains and oils, animal feeds, fruit and bulk ingredients. [Read more]


Using a Food’s Unique Fingerprint to Detect Fraud

by Emily Baron Cadloff

Every food has a unique, and invisible, chemical “fingerprint.”A researcher from Purdue University has discovered a quick and portable way to identify that fingerprint and sniff out food fraud on the go. [Read more]


In the Shopping Cart

by Lena Beck

Here are some common examples of food frauds and fakes you could come into contact with at grocery stores around the world. [Read more]


When Labels Lie

by Lena Beck

Food labels are loaded with words and images that convey meaning. Knowing the story of your food means sifting through the true, the false and everything in between. [Read more]


Can You Trust the Organic Food Label?

by Emily Baron Cadloff

“Organic” food is specifically certified and verified, but millions of dollars worth of fraud still occurs within the organic system. [Read more]


What’s in a Name? Food Labels, Explained

by Lena Beck

Food labels can be difficult to understand and interpret, so we’ve created a glossary of some common ones that you’ll see at the grocery store. [Read more]


Can the Blockchain Clear the Smoke for Cannabis?

by Naoki Nitta

Cannabis often has a hazy supply chain, but blockchain technology promises seed-to-sale transparency for growers and consumers. [Read more]

Series edited and illustrated by Rose Garrett 

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Salvatore Giannola
4 months ago

One of my pet peeves concerns the words ” Natural flavor” .I called the phone number listed on a product package with the intention of finding out what the manufacturer was referring to when they used those two words -” Natural flavor”. They declined to say what they were referencing as to their use of those two words with the exception of what they said was “proprietary” information that I assume they think would be a breach of their “Secret” ingredient.reference. I’m sorry to say If,this ingredient is secret then even the F.D.A.wouldn’t know what it, is either. Right !… Read more »