A recent New York Times article reported that the distribution of counterfeit food and beverage products is widespread. In “Counterfeit Food More Widespread Than Suspected,” authors Stephen Castle and Doreen Carvajal note that although the scandal in Europe surrounding the substitution of horse meat for beef products has garnered the most attention from consumers, in fact, that is just a hint of what has been happening as the economic crisis persists.
Castle and Carvajal report that investigators have uncovered thousands of frauds, raising questions about regulatory oversight as criminals offer shoppers cheaper versions of everyday food products, including chocolate, olive oil, wine, juice, honey, and coffee. One recent food fraud case reportedly involved an international organized crime gang that produced and distributed a “dangerous brew” of fake vodka that appeared legitimate and bore a “near-perfect counterfeit label,” but contained bleach and high levels of methanol. See The New York Times, June 26, 2013.