Feeding fiction: Fraud vulnerability in the food service industry

Saskia M. van Ruth*, Joris van der Veeken, Pieter Dekker, Pieternel A. Luning, Wim Huisman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study examines fraud vulnerability in the food service industry; identifies underlying fraud vulnerability factors; and studies the differences in fraud vulnerability between casual dining restaurants, fine dining restaurants and mass caterers for four product groups. Vulnerability was assessed by an adapted SSAFE food fraud vulnerability assessment, tailored to the food service sector situation. The 15 food service operators rated high vulnerability for 40% of the fraud indicators. This is considerably more than food manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers did previously. In particular, more opportunities and fewer controls were noted. Overall fraud vulnerability was more determined by the type of food service operator than by the type of food product. Casual dining restaurants appeared most vulnerable, followed by fine dining restaurants. Mass caterers seemed the least vulnerable operators, because they had more adequate food fraud controls in place. Considering its high vulnerability, reinforcement of mitigation measures in the food service industry is urgently recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109158
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalFood Research International
Early online date9 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Dining
  • Food fraud
  • Fraud prevention
  • Hospitality
  • Integrity
  • Mass caterer
  • Restaurant


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