Food fraud in sub-Saharan Africa: A preliminary multi-country study

Soon-Sinclair, Jan Mei, Imathiu, Samuel, Obadina, Adewale Olusegun, Dongmo, Fabrice Fabien Dongho, Kamgain, Dimitri Tchuenchieu, Moholisa, Ennet, Saba, Courage Kosi Setsoafia, Walekhwa, Abel Wilson, Hunga, Henry et al (2023) Food fraud in sub-Saharan Africa: A preliminary multi-country study. Foods . (Submitted)

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Food fraud is an old, recurring, and global threat to public health. It poses a serious threat to food security in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Despite the prevalence of food fraud in SSA, little is known about how food fraud is viewed by consumers. This study aims to provide an overview of con-sumers’ concerns about food fraud in SSA. A multi-country survey was conducted in October 2022 – 31 January 2023, and 898 valid responses were returned. Kruskal-Wallis H test with Dunn’s pairwise tests was carried out to determine if concerns about food fraud were significantly dif-ferent between countries. To reduce the large and correlated dataset, Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was used. Five components were derived from PCA: i) Staple foods; (ii) Premium food and drink products; (iii) Trust in reliable sources; (iv) Trust in less reliable sources; and (v) Trust in food vendors. Derived PCA components and demographic characteristics were used as independent variables in ordered logistic regression and food fraud concern was the dependent variable. The findings revealed Ghanaian (mean rank=509.47) and Nigerian (mean rank=454.82) consumers tended to score higher on the measure of food fraud concern suggesting that they are less confident about the safety and quality of the food they consume. Demographic characteristics including age, number of children, personal and family experience of food fraud and PCA com-ponents such as ‘Staple foods’, ‘Trust in reliable sources’ and ‘Trust in food vendors’ significantly predicted the model. This is the first preliminary study to provide empirical findings on con-sumers’ concerns about food fraud in SSA. Practical and policy recommendations for the region are suggested.

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