AOAC’s Food Authenticity and Fraud (FAF) program focuses on identifying analytical tools to better locate and characterize the intentional and economically motivated adulteration of foods.

Food fraud encompasses a wide range of deliberate fraudulent acts, from adding nonauthentic substances to removing or replacing authentic substances without the purchaser’s knowledge. Most commonly, this involves selling of food which is unfit and potentially harmful, deliberate mislabeling of food, or counterfeiting.

The top three most adulterated foods in the United States are olive oil, milk, and honey.

Scope and objectives

The FAF launched with two working groups (Targeted and Non-Targeted Testing) with the following goals:

  • Survey the Targeted Testing landscape to identify most commonly tested ingredients and their associated targeted adulterants
  • Identify existing methodologies for food fraud Targeted Testing and their (AOAC) status, and identify reference materials and Proficiency Testing programs.
  • Identify Targeted Testing analytical gaps and set priorities for developing AOAC standards
  • Map an accelerated process for AOAC Targeted Testing standards development and review for use in the event of a major international food fraud incident
  • Develop standards for Non-Targeted Testing (NTT) of foods including a generic SMPR to evaluate NTT methodologies for their reliability and usefulness
  • Develop acceptance criteria for NTT methodologies for use as ingredient screening tools in domestic and international trade

Working groups

FAF currently has three active working groups:

  • Non-Targeted Testing
  • Targeted Testing
  • Matrices Subgroups for olive oil, honey and milk/milk products

Get involved

There are many benefits to contributing to the standards development in connection with food authenticity and fraud.

If you are a method developer, the working groups will develop the standards that will be used by AOAC Expert Review Panels to evaluate your candidate targeted and non-targeted methods for possible adoption as AOAC Official Methods®.

If you are a food manufacturer or food distributor, you can participate in the development of standards and methods that best meet your analytical needs, protecting your brand’s reputation and improving the quality and safety of our food supply.

For all: This project will create reference methods that do not exist now that will result in reliable data for an effective compliance-driven quality control of food materials and products. It will support the development of standards leading to Codex Type II methods for dispute resolution in international trade.

There are many ways to get involved:

  • Become a member of the Food Authenticity & Fraud Panel
  • Join a working group
  • Serve on an Expert Review Panel
  • Submit a Method
  • Provide Method feedback

If you are interested in this project and to partner with AOAC, please contact Palmer A. Orlandi, at 301-924-7077; ext. 163 or [email protected].