What is Intentional Adulteration in Food?

Intentional Adulteration is when a food product is intentionally contaminated by a person or group of people external or internal to a food business. On a wide-scale, intentional adulteration in food is an attack on the safety of our food supply. The most common cause is disgruntled employees seeking revenge on their employer or co-workers.

Cases from Around the Globe

There are many examples of intentional adulteration cases from around the globe. Some cases include:

2018: Australian-grown strawberries were implicated in deliberate sabotage involving sewing needles.

2016: At least 33 people, including five children, died in District Layyah, Punjab Pakistan after eating a purposely poisoned laddu, a baked confection. One of the owners confessed to mixing the pesticide into the sweets after an argument with his brother and co-owner.

2015: Beer served at a funeral in Mozambique was contaminated with bongkrekic acid, resulting in 75 deaths and more than 230 people falling ill.

2002: A jealous business rival poisoned food products of a competitor with a strong rat poison. As a result, 38 people were killed, mostly schoolchildren, and approximately 200 people were hospitalized.

To see other cases, the Food Adulteration Incidents Registry documents different types of food adulteration.

Intentional Adulteration Regulatory Requirement

Governments worldwide aim to protect the food supply from unintentional and intentional adulteration. This is achieved through country-based food safety legislation and requirements.

For food businesses based in the USA and those who export to the USA, the FSMA Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration rule comes into force from July 26 2019, for businesses that are not classified as small or very small.

This rule aims to regulate food facilities to identify potential risks and implement suitable mitigation strategies to prevent vulnerabilities.

GFSI Requirements

For GFSI-recognised Certification Programmes like BRC, SQF, FSSC 22000 and IFS, requirements for protecting food against intentional adulteration are covered under Food Defense, Food Defence, Site Security or Sabotage.

Be sure to review the requirements as they do differ from the requirements of, and the terminology used, in the USA FSMA IA rule.

Learn More

To get a basic overview of Food Defense, check out our IACET accredited training by clicking here. You can also share your insights on this subject by leaving a comment below this post.

4 thoughts on “What is Intentional Adulteration in Food?”

  1. i can share two personal experiences with intentional contamination, if your interested

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