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VIET SEAFOOD

Food Safety Body Rarely Briefed On Consumer Fraud With Food Labels & Logos The Netherlands, June 14, 13

Fraud involving wrongly labeled or marked food products is rarely reported to the Netherlands authorities, the Dutch television station NOS reports on Thursday.

Food safety inspectors received just six reports over the past two years, but experts told the broadcaster the problem is much more widespread. Nobody knows how widespread labeling fraud which refers to certain quality, health or sustainability claims is “but I think you would scream if you knew how much there is,” one laboratory worker told the television reporter.

Philip den Ouden, chairman of food industry body FNLI, said: “Little attention is paid in the food chain to the integrity of products. Not everyone tests food, or investigates the claims on the logo’s or labels. This surprises me because there is no risk analysis.”

Reports

If public safety is at risk, this has to be reported to the NVWA within four hours. However, there is no requirement to report wrongly labeled products. Laboratory reports are sent to the producers who then decide what action to take.

A former NVWA worker told the broadcaster food fraud is not a priority. “It has been removed because of the cuts,” he said.

Supermarkets also test their products. A spokesman for the leading Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn group said: “We only register with the NVWA if there is a danger to health.” The Dutch market leader was twice involved in prosecutions over the past few years.

“Every discovery of fraud should be reported, possibly to a special hotline,” Den Ouden told the broadcaster. “But that will be tricky because it is a sensitive issue.”

Recently there was a controversy in the Netherlands with eggs which carried an “organic logo” but turned out to be regular eggs. Also problems with horse meat labeled and sold as beef have shown that consumer fraud is often not detected too late.
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