Prevalence of milk fraud in the Chinese market and its relationship with fraud vulnerabilities in the chain

Yuzheng Yang, Liebing Zhang, Kasper A. Hettinga, Sara W. Erasmus, Saskia M. Van Ruth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to assess the prevalence of ultra-high-temperature (UHT) processed milk samples suspected of being adulterated on the Chinese market and, subsequently, relate their geographical origin to the earlier determined fraud vulnerability. A total of 52 UHT milk samples purchased from the Chinese market were measured to detect possible anomalies. The milk compositional features were determined by standardized Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy, and the detection limits for common milk adulterations were investigated. The results showed that twelve of the analysed milk samples (23%) were suspected of having quality or fraud-related issues, while one sample of these was highly suspected of being adulterated (diluted with water). Proportionally, more suspected samples were determined among milks produced in the Central- Northern and Eastern areas of China than in those from the North-Western and North-Eastern areas, while those from the South were in between. Combining the earlier collected results on fraud vulnerability in the Chinese milk chains, it appears that increased fraud prevalence relates to poorer business relationships and lack of adequate managerial controls. Since very few opportunities and motivations differ consistently across high and low-prevalence areas, primarily the improvement of control measures can help to mitigate food fraud in the Chinese milk supply chains.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberfoods9060709
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • China
  • Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy
  • Fraud vulnerability
  • Milk adulteration
  • Milk composition
  • One-class classifications


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