Ground almonds adulterated with peanuts in Europe – no indications of food fraud in controls carried out by Finnish Customs
Expensive almonds and nuts tempt food fraudsters to adulterate ground and chopped products with cheaper raw materials. Finnish Customs carried out controls on batches of almond and hazelnut products imported to Finland. They were found to be authentic products without any indication of food fraud as far as examined.
In spring 2023, Finnish Customs carried out product safety controls and examined almond and nut products that are attractive for food fraud. They are valuable foodstuffs and, occasionally, fraudulent operators try to maximise their profits by mixing in cheaper raw materials to the products.
Adding a cheaper raw material to a more expensive one without indicating it on the label is a common type of food fraud. It also poses a risk to people with allergies: if e.g. peanuts are not listed on the label, it is not possible for an allergic person to avoid the product.
Almond flours, various chopped hazelnuts as well as marzipans containing almond paste imported to Finland were selected for Customs’ controls. Using laboratory tests, these products were examined for peanut, which may be used to replace more expensive raw materials. The examined foodstuffs originated in Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Spain and Türkiye as well as in the United States. No peanuts or indications of food fraud were detected in the batches that were subject to controls in the spring.
Finnish Customs monitors the product safety of foodstuffs from many perspectives
Elsewhere in Europe, fraudulent activities related to almond and nut products have already been detected for many years. Finnish Customs has also earlier monitored fraudulent activities related to almonds and nuts imported to Finland without finding any indications of such activities.
During spring 2023, there was a separate control project on possible food frauds, but Finnish Customs continuously monitors almond and nut products. The normal import controls focus on ensuring the quality and safety of products.
Our Customs Laboratory examines nuts and nut products e.g. for pesticides, microbiological quality, such as salmonella, as well as for mycotoxins, which are carcinogenic compounds produced by moulds.