June 14, 2021 8:26 AM

Beginning Monday, June 14, 2021, the MSU Veterinary Medical Center will allow clients into the building with patients. Find details here.

Any patient presented to the MSU Small Animal Emergency Service will undergo an initial medical evaluation to determine if urgent care is needed, and whether hospitalization is warranted. The MSU Small Animal Emergency Service will only hospitalize patients that our clinicians consider to be unstable or to have life-threatening conditions.

Food fraud indelibly etched itself on the public consciousness in 2008 when 30,000 children in China were hospitalized with kidney problems because their milk powder was contaminated with melamine, an industrial chemical used in plastics, adhesives, countertops, and other materials. The scandal incinerated the reputation of China’s food system and victimized approximately 300,000 babies. In the United States, dogs and cats began dying suddenly, and the deaths were traced to melamine-contaminated food. In both cases, melamine was added to the food product to increase the protein content.

By Jamie DePolo

It seems recent, but food fraud has been going on for thousands of years,” says Dr. John Spink, assistant professor for the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences and director of the MSU Food Fraud Initiative. “There are records of tea fraud in 400 B.C.”

More recently, peanuts were used as an illegal filler in ground cumin, horsemeat was found in ground beef in the United Kingdom, and pomegranate juice was discovered to have been cut with grape juice. While some are concerned about being cheated by food fraud, food safety issues are the major concern for most people.

Krysta Haggins
Krysta Haggins, fourth-year DVM student, conducts breeding soundness exams at the MSU Sheep Teaching and Research Center.

Befitting MSU’s land-grant tradition, the Food Fraud Initiative takes an interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach approach to tackling the issue, focusing on five main areas:

  • The fraud itself, which is usually economically motivated and encompasses contamination and country of origin, ingredient, and production method fraud (a non-organic food being labeled as organic, for example). “While food fraud itself has been going on for centuries, as an academic discipline, it’s relatively new,” Spink says. “So, there are many disciplines involved, including public policy, criminal justice, food science, and veterinary medicine.”
  • Business/enterprise risk management, a concept that Spink is helping food companies implement to evaluate potential fraud risks. “We help companies see where fraud might happen,” he says.
  • General anti-counterfeiting strategies, which start by looking at the underlying drivers of the fraud opportunity. Once a company knows why and how someone might perpetuate fraud, it can create the most effective and efficient counter strategies. “There’s not a magic bullet here,” Spink explains. “Preventing fraud takes a systems approach.”
  • Anti-counterfeit countermeasures, the academic term for the back-and-forth battle between the company and the people perpetuating the fraud. “These strategies are evolving and have to take into account how the people perpetuating the fraud will react,” Spink says. “Then, the strategies are modified based on that. It’s a chess match of wits.”
  • Outreach, which includes massive open online courses (MOOCs) on various aspects of food fraud. Offered since 2013 in May and November, the MOOCs are free and open to anyone who would like to register, though there is a charge if a student wants a certificate of completion. “The MOOCs are open for a month,” Spink says, “and offer two weeks of content. The series includes a food fraud overview and a food fraud audit guide. About 200 to 600 students participate in each session and about 10,000 people from more than 50 countries have completed one or both courses.”

Also in this Issue:

The Dean’s Perspective Read More
Learn Read More
Greener Pastures

College and farm partner to improve veterinary education and the dairy industry of tomorrow.

Read More
Investing in the Future

MSU Donors’ Impact on the Dairy Industry.

Read More
Food Systems Fellowship Program

12 years of adding value to the student experience.

Read More
Not Just Medicine

Clerkship Series Teaches Professional Skills To Food Animal Veterinary Students.

Read More
Who will keep food safe? Spartans Will.

This Spartan is One of a Kind.

Read More
Experts Revamp Food Protection and Defense Course Read More
Online Continuing Education Emerges from the MSU Online Food Safety Program Read More
Discover Read More
Quality Milk Alliance

Prioritizes Mastitis Preventatives and Training.

Read More
Researching New Therapies and Preventatives

to Mediate GI-Triggered Autoimmune Disease.

Read More
Reducing Early-Life Adversity for Pig, Human Health Read More
Slowing Down Antibiotics and Speeding Up Herd Recovery Read More
Wake Up: Treating Tuberculosis by Stopping Dormancy

Treating Tuberculosis by Stopping Dormancy.

Read More
Heal Read More
Healing the Herd

Hospital Focuses on Prevention for Welfare and Food Safety.

Read More
Scholarships Empower

2017 Alumnus to Succeed in Dairy Herd Health Medicine.

Read More
Protect Read More
Food Safety and Public Health

Veterinarians Are Integral to the Process.

Read More
Defining and Fighting Food Fraud Read More
College Welcomes New PDI Chair, One Health Ambassador Read More
New curriculum offers opportunity for food animal students Read More
Class of 2021 Profile Read More
Alumni News Read More
In Memoriam Read More
Why Scholarships? Why Now?

Students are the lifeblood of the College, which is working to ensure that MSU is the top choice for prospective veterinary students.

Read More
Homecoming 2017 Read More
Celebration of Generosity 2017 Read More