Inscatech In The News
Private Eyes: They're Watching You
Quality Assurance & Food Safety
“Food fraud is a crime,” said Mitchell Weinberg, founder and CEO of Inscatech. “It is the intentional adulteration of food for economic gain. While its intended impact is economic, food fraud can cause both economic and physical harm, and has often been linked to illness and death.”
Rampant Honey Fraud Spawns Creation of New Certification Program
Cision PR Newswire
August 29, 2019
Confusion among honey consumers in Canada and the United Statesreached its peak over the last few weeks when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and a lawsuit filed in Kansasalleged that the honey industry in both countries is rife with fraud.
Inside The Secret World of Food Spies
The Dr. Oz Show
Originally aired March 27, 2018
Is the food you're eating unsafe? Mitchell Weinberg, the Founder and CEO of INSCATECH, explains how INSCATECH investigates food fraud and collaborates with law enforcement authorities to crack down on the global food industry.
Food Fraud, Spying and Authenticity
Episode 111, Northeastern Lecture Series, Featuring Mitchell Weinberg, CEO of INSCATECH
Originally aired March 27, 2018
To kick off our Northeastern Lecture Series, I give you an episode that feels like a spy flick than anything else.
Mitchell leads and manages food spies who look for food fraud in various companies and his mission in life is to make food authentic. This was all inspired by a food safety incident in China. So this episode brings us to the complex world of food fraud, and how Mitchell promotes food authenticity through various services and non-profits. We also get into a discussion on blockchain. Though nobody seems to truly understand blockchain, Mitchell tells us why it might not be the panacea we’re looking for.
Why Blockchain Won't Fix Food Safety - Yet
The New Food Economy
February 4, 2018
The new software being developed by Walmart and IBM depends on full and honest information, meaning the blockchain will only be as strong as its weakest link. These days it’s hard to read about the future of industry—nearly any industry, really—without hearing how the blockchain is going to completely disrupt it. Blockchain is best known for being the digital accounting backbone of the volatile digital currency Bitcoin, but in many other contexts it is being promoted as a catch-all solution for transparency, efficiency, and trust. And the food industry is no exception. Some companies, including giants like Walmart, Nestlé, and Dole, are hopeful that the high-tech tool can be used to address longstanding problems around food safety and traceability. Mitchell Weinberg, who founded the food fraud detection and prevention firm Inscatech, thinks it unrealistic to believe all of the food we consume can be tracked on the blockchain.
Food Spy: Do you know what you're eating?
November 14, 2017
Mitchell Weinberg, founder and CEO of INSCATECH, digs deep into the phenomenon of "fake food" in this presentation at The Year Ahead Summit at Bloomberg headquarters in New York.
Food Fraud Affects Every Customer in the World
Bloomberg Daybreak Asia
August 17, 2017
Mitchell Weinberg, President and CEO, Inscatech, joined Doug Krizner and Bryan Curtis to discuss how the worst bout of food poisoning led to the set up of his company, which scours the world for instances of food fraud. He says the food industry is often in denial and conceals problems. He went on to say whistleblowers now have the opportunity to get in touch anonymously.
Beating China's Fake Food Scurge
August 6, 2017
A bowl of ice cream on a hot day in Shanghai gave American Mitchell Weinberg the worst bout of food poisoning he can recall. It also inspired the then-trade consultant to set up Inscatech — a global network of food spies.
In demand by multinational retailers and food producers, Inscatech and its agents scour supply chains around the world hunting for evidence of food industry fraud and malpractice. In the eight years since he founded the New York-based firm, Weinberg, 52, says China continues to be a key growth area for fraudsters as well as those developing technologies trying to counter them. “Statistically we’re uncovering fraud about 70 percent of the time, but in China it’s very close to 100 percent,” he said. “It’s pervasive, it’s across food groups, and it’s anything you can possibly imagine.”
The Multi-Billion Dollar Problem of Food Fraud
MarketPlace, American Public Media
January 15, 2016
Food companies are having all sorts of trouble with their brands lately, around issues like how healthy their products are or whether they have GMO ingredients. But another big issue that can really hurt their brands is food fraud, where suppliers may do things like substitute products or ingredients with lower quality, cheaper ones. Many food ingredients can be adulterated, according to Mitchell Weinberg, head of the global food fraud detection firm INSCATECH.
Could Chipotle's Problems be Food Fraud?
December 24, 2015
Imagine if Chipotle's recent E. Coli problems are a result of food fraud. Imagine if a rogue supplier has knowingly or recklessly supplied Chipotle with E. Coli tainted ingredients as a way of saving money hoping that no one would trace it back to them. As of today, Chipotle, the CDC and food safety experts are puzzled. We are almost 2 months after the first cases of illness struck and the experts have still not identified the root cause or where responsibility for these illnesses lies.
Food Safety Certification, Food Fraud and the Need to Certify
Food Quality Magazine
We have all seen the food certification information that appears on virtually every type of packaged food. They (certifications) are numerous, imposing and informative. Does anybody question what goes into the various certifications we see on food labels, especially those that signify that food is safe? How do companies earn or qualify to be able to put certifications on their labels? In most cases, we have no idea. We trust the certification bodies to ensure that the companies they certify are deserving of the certification. But once a certification body is accredited, how rigorous is the accreditation body in its oversight of the certification body?
Food Phobias and Curse of Knowing Too Much
September 17, 2015
It wasn’t because he was poisoned by ice cream. And itwasn’t that as a result he nearly died, or that he happened to be an American traveling in China at the time. In the end, it was Mitchell Weinberg’s job as a food investigator that gave him his food hangups — ones that have blossomed into borderline phobias.
Food Fraud Cases Are Getting More Alarming
Food World News
August 20, 2015
During last month's annual meeting of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) in Portland, Oregon, Mitchell Weinberg, food fraud investigator, addressed the roomful of food safety professionals, "Around the world, food fraud is an epidemic. In every single country where food is produced or grown, food fraud is occurring."
How Pervasive Is Food Fraud?
Touch The Soil News
August 16, 2015
Popularly, when the topic of food fraud comes up, we think of foreign countries. Recently, Food Safety News had a special interview with Mitchell Weinberg – who is CEO of a food-fraud investigation firm. According to Weinberg, his company finds food fraud in 50 percent to 60 percent of the investigations they do. Weinberg explains that food fraud goes across the spectrum of all food and in virtually every country in the world.
New Zealand's Premium Honey Drawing Counterfeits
June 21, 2015
Manuka Honey has a reputation for being a super food. At up to a hundred dollars a jar, New Zealand's premium honey is the latest product attracting the attention of counterfeiters wanting a quick buck. Bloomberg's Paul Allen reports.
Why This Celebrity-Backed Honey Is Worth Counterfeiting
June 19, 2015
Celebrated by Gwyneth Paltrow and Dr. Oz, manuka honey “is quite literally liquid gold” for the companies selling it. Celebrities and foodies love manuka honey, the so-called superfood from New Zealand made by bees that pollinate manuka trees, shrublike plants native to the South Pacific nation. The honey (pronounced “mahh-nu-kah”) has become a consumer favorite thanks to claims that it can kill harmful bacteria and help the body fight infections.But the soaring popularity of manuka honey is causing headaches for Comvita and other producers. In New Zealand, costs are rising as local beekeepers can’t keep up with demand. That’s creating an opportunity both for fraudsters, who are selling plebeian honey and calling it manuka, and for producers outside New Zealand, who argue the country doesn’t have a monopoly on the honey.
Radio New Zealand Interview
Program: This Way Up
Presenter: Simon Morton
March 11, 2015
Radio NZ opens the lid of the secretive operatives known as FOOD SPIES in this intriguing interview with Mitchell Weinberg, Founder & CEO of INSCATECH. INSCATECH's team does vital work to keep us all safe.
The A-Team That Tracks the Poisonous Additives in Our Food
Some groceries are not what they seem. Just ask Mitchell Weinberg. As head of a firm called Inscatech, he specializes in the dirty details of adulterating edibles—shortcuts and substitutions that can lead to disaster. Business is booming: Reports of tainted food climbed 60 percent between 2010 and 2013, according to the nonprofit US Pharmacopeial Convention. Inscatech is a sort of food A-Team, the outfit brands hire when they suspect their supply chains have been compromised. Dubious about the cocoa in your cake mixes? Weinberg will recruit local operatives with backgrounds in intelligence to track the ingredient from its source. Working incognito, his agents scrutinize equipment, staff, and methods. “Whatever legal and ethical techniques can be employed, we employ,” Weinberg says. He is also amassing a library of genetic and chemical fingerprints, a tool for spotting abnormalities. Quick tip: Don’t eat jam in Taipei.
Food Fraud: Money Scam and Health Hazard
Food Safety News
November 10, 2014
Despite the common belief that food fraud in the United States is a rarity, the globalized nature of our food supply chain means many of our favorite foods and ingredients travel far and wide before they reach our plates, making adulteration and other types of food fraud a considerate problem here as well. And it’s not just one food being called another (e.g. escolar as tuna) that we need to worry about. Many of the foods we consume every day are filled with ingredients that aren’t supposed to be there. Food fraud occurs with varying frequency in foods across the board—oils, dairy, meats, alcohol, sweeteners, spices and more.
Scientists Step Up Food Fraud Efforts Following Horse Meat Scandal
September 24, 2014
Last year, the great European horse meat scandal alerted consumers around the world to food fraud. Traces of horse meat were found in Ikea meatballs and Burger King beef patties, in cottage pies sold at schools in Lancashire, England, and in frozen lasagna sold all over Europe. Arrests were made in the U.K. and in France. The contamination didn't pose any real public health threat — horse has the same amount of protein as beef, and less fat. But in the U.K., where horses are viewed as pets rather than food, people weren't happy to learn they had been eating horse unawares. And as we reported, in France, where eating horse is more common, customers were angry that they had been paying beef prices for cheaper horse meat.
Fighting Food Fraud: Intelligence and Common Cents
Food Quality Magazine
July 30, 2014
Since the melamine in milk and horsemeat in lasagna scandals, awareness about Food Fraud among food consumers is slowly starting to increase. The response to these cases has done little to deter those who commit Food Fraud. Food Fraud is occurring with even greater frequency in many, if not most of the largest food producing countries in the world. Unfortunately, testing for known adulterants, creating new standards, conducting audits, awarding certifications, delivering speeches and giving presentations about Food Fraud are doing nothing to solve the problem.
INSCATECH Instrumental in Creation of New GFSI Food Fraud Mitigation Requirements
July 15, 2014
INSCATECH applauds the Global Food Safety Initiative (“GFSI”) in their decision to include new requirements specific to food fraud mitigation in the next full revision of the GFSI Guidance Document (7th Edition) to be released in 2016. Details can be found in GFSI’s position paper, “GFSI Position on Mitigating the Public Health Risk of Food Fraud”, released on July 14, 2014. INSCATECH was a key member of the GFSI Board Sponsored Food Fraud Think Tank which was convened to further advance the Food Fraud mitigation topic, and was instrumental having its recommendations adopted by the GFSI Board of Directors.
GFSI Position Paper on Mitigating the Public Health Risk of Food Fraud
The Consumer Goods Forum News Release
July 14, 2014
The Global Food Safety Initiative is proud to release a paper on the position of the GFSI on Food Fraud mitigation. This work has been led by the GFSI Guidance Document Working Group* with the Food Fraud Think Tank**, convened to further advance the food fraud mitigation topic.
In line with the GFSI’s mission statement, the additional requirements and food fraud definition ensure a focus on food safety, rather than other factors such as commercial gain. The requirements specify that companies perform a food fraud vulnerability assessment and to have a food fraud vulnerability control plan in place to mitigate the identified vulnerabilities.
En Trussel Mot Folkehelsen
June 1, 2014
Antagelig spiser du hver eneste dag mat med ingredienser som ikke er hva de utgir seg for å vǽre, uten å vite om det.
Mange av sykdmmene som vi sliter med i den vestilige verden nå, kan skyldes matkviminalitet, advarer Mitchell Weinberg i det amerikanske matetterretningsselskapet INSCATECH.
Yummy. But Should I Eat It
In New York - Special Green Edition - Article
Can I trust what the label says? And what will my doctor say? The second panel discussion brought together leaders from various industries who addressed the highly charged issues of food safety, food fraud, and implications on health. Moderator Steve Trygg, Vice Chairman of SACC of New York, kicked off the proceedings with a disturbing fact: food fraud is everywhere.
Counterfeit Food More Widespread Than Suspected
New York Times Article
June 26, 2013
Invisible from the roadway, hidden deep in the lush English countryside, Moscow Farm is an unlikely base for an international organized crime gang churning out a dangerous brew of fake vodka.
Fake Glen's Vodka has high levels of methanol, and bleach was added to lighten its color.
But a quarter of a mile off a one-lane road here, tens of thousands of liters of counterfeit spirits were distilled, pumped into genuine vodka bottles, with near-perfect counterfeit labels and duty stamps, and sold in corner shops across Britain. The fake Glen’s vodka looked real. But analysis revealed that it was spiked with bleach to lighten its color, and contained high levels of methanol, which in large doses can cause blindness.