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Four Corners: Food Fraud – An Organised Crime airs Mon 20 Sep on ABC TV



Four Corners next Monday (8.30pm ABC TV) focuses on a group of international food investigators who are looking at the growing number of scams by criminals disrupting the global food supply chain.

“What we know for sure is that food fraud is growing exponentially and it’s more and more worrying.” Consumer advocate

Around the world a new type of crime is being carried out and it goes right to the heart of what we eat. Food fraud is a highly lucrative criminal enterprise that affects a huge range of products.

“There was a widespread fraud of several products – honey, pepper, cumin, paprika, many products.” Industry whistleblower

Criminal syndicates are infiltrating the global food suply chain, undermining the ability of consumers to trust what is on the label and what ends up on their plate.

“We found one product with about one third horse DNA in it, which was just an incredible finding. We went back and checked, double checked, and we triple checked, because we understood that if we were to go out public with such a story it was going to have quite an effect.“ Irish food regulator

Scams range from the intentional mislabelling of inferior products in order to pass them off as premium items, to the substitution of one food stuff for something else entirely.

“Where was the source of it, that was the big question? Who put the horse meat inside the beef products?” Head of intelligence & investigations, Dutch Food & Consumer Safety Authority

Regulators are struggling to keep up with this burgeoning underground business which risks undermining the reputation of whole industries.

“Parmesan in general, Parma ham, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin oil, in fact the most important products are fake. It deteriorates the market, and it damages the image of Italian products.” Italian investigating magistrate

In this fascinating film, international food investigators show the many and varied scams they have uncovered and who is behind them.

“We bugged them, we monitored their emails. We went through all their assets, we put GPS to follow their trucks, we did some tailing. In short, it was a very complex investigation that lasted two years.” Italian investigating magistrate.

And some of the results are very unpalatable.

“We find bone tissue, connective tissue, glands, mucous membranes, lymphoid tissue. So it’s been replaced by all the possible by-products and slaughterhouse waste that we can find. It’s quite unappetising.” Former food industry engineer.

From the olive groves of Italy to the fish markets of France and the abattoirs of Poland, this film takes you on a culinary journey of a very different kind.

Four Corners: Food Fraud – An Organised Crime airs Monday 20 September at 8.30pm on ABC TV.