Food Fraud and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act: Bridging a Disconnect

Carissa Cruse


To protect society’s food supply, the term food fraud should be replaced with the term food adulteration when used by the crusaders against food fraud. The term food fraud causes confusion from a legal perspective because it requires an intent to harm in order to take any protective and enforcement measures. This is backwards and needs to be corrected. Replacing food fraud with food adulteration will remove scienter as an element and replace it with a strict liability standard, so that when the food supply is harmed, that alone is enough to take action against the perpetrator of the harm. There is too much at stake when it comes to society’s health, businesses, and cultural requirements to permit a higher standard, specifically one that requires intent. Protecting society’s food supply includes many definitions. For this article, I suggest the crusaders against food fraud adopt the term food adulteration as the umbrella term that includes economic adulteration, food fraud, economically motivated adulteration, and food terrorism (food defense). I also suggest FDA eliminate its working definition of economic adulteration and revert to the definition of adulteration found in statute.