Critiquing the inter-disciplinary literature on food fraud

Robert Smith*, Louise Manning, Gerald McElwee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The European Horsemeat Scandal of 2013 is a recent manifestation of the problem of ‘Food fraud’. It is important from a criminological perspective because it exists at the nexus between organized crime and bad business practice and is a contemporary example of criminal-entrepreneurship. From a practical perspective it is a pernicious criminal activity perpetuated by diverse organized-crime-groups, rogue-entrepreneurs and food-industry-insiders. It is a white-collar-crime committed in the commercial arena, across an extended international food-chain. Geographic and policy boundaries make it difficult to police. Although a high level of awareness of the fraud exists globally, there is a dearth of critical academic research into the phenomenon. The extant literature is spread thinly across various disciplinary silos. This essay by two Business School Scholars and a Food Scientist, discusses the need to develop a more critical, inter-disciplinary approach to developing appropriate theoretical frameworks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-270
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Rural Criminology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017


  • Food fraud
  • Food crime
  • Critical criminology
  • Rural criminology
  • Criminal entrepreneurship


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