Fraud with regard to fruit (and produce in general) is commonly related to labeling claims about production practices, production location or brand names. In some parts of the world, unapproved substances may be used to speed or enhance ripening or to make fruits look more visually appealing.
Still, fraud in fresh produce can occur in several ways. Among these are fraudulent organic certifications, counterfeit branding, misrepresentation of geographic origin and the use of unapproved ripening agents.
In 2019, a company in Canada was charged with misrepresenting broccoli grown in California as “Product of Canada.” In 2018, 500 kg of mangoes were seized from a market in Puducherry, India, for being ripened with calcium carbide.
There are currently 108 incident records and 54 inference records for fresh produce in the Food Fraud Database. Many of these are related to fraudulent organic certificates, but there are also examples of varietal misrepresentation, falsification of geographic origin, the use of substances such as ethephon, artificial color enhancement, and counterfeit labeling.