NEW PUBLICATION – Routine Activities Theory and Food Fraud Victimization – Update

Our recent consumer food fraud victimization publication has a renewed importance due to the increase in e-commerce and online shopping focus. COVID-19 drove consumers to unprecedented online purchases and e-commerce. There are ways that food companies can position their products to build consumer confidence and reduce the consumer’s vulnerability.

Scholarly Publications = Methodical Processes and Fundamentally Sound Insights

Scholarly publications often have a long process, from research to accepted, published online, and then published in the official journal. Our article was “accepted” in February 2021, “published” online a month later in March 2021, and then was “issued” fourteen months later in June 2022. That article was first “submitted” two years earlier, in June 2020, based on research conducted a year earlier in June 2019. This timeline is pretty typical for scholarly research to become published.

Working in academia requires patience to let scholarly publications develop.

Relying on scholarly publications requires an awareness that the “new” is usually at least two years old.

The “product life cycle” can also apply to new ideas – e.g., introduction, growth, maturity, and decline – and an important step is to get these ideas into the public domain through the scholarly article publication. We also need to be aware that we need to stay closely connected to other researchers since the science is moving ahead of the current publications.

The role of a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal article is to provide a very theoretically sound and comprehensively reviewed information source.

Criminology Research on Victimization

Criminology is a constantly evolving academic discipline because criminals are continually innovating, and the guardians are becoming more and more organized. Originally, criminology was more about policing (catching or dissuading bad guys) and criminal justice (a broad focus on the institutions and laws for courts and penal systems). Scholars applied social science to understand the problem and the individual. These areas are “traditional criminology.” In the 1970s, “environmental criminology” added a focus on the space where crime occurs. Routine Activities Theory – the foundation of our food fraud victimology article – is a key to Situational Crime Prevention, which focuses on the place where crime occurs rather than on the criminals.

As the field of Criminology has evolved, there is a newer focus on the study of the crime victims, or victimology. When combining Situational Crime Prevention and Victimology, the food fraud prevention focus is on food companies helping to reduce the fraud opportunity and educating the consumer to not be as vulnerable.

Combining with Our Other Research Paths

Regarding consumers in the online and e-commerce environment, we have three other recent research paths: (1) help educate the consumer on how to avoid being a victim, (2) review the food regulatory direction, such as the US FDA’s public meeting on food delivery services (“food e-commerce”), and (3) (VERB here) how a food company can conduct a vulnerability assessment to create an efficient prevention strategy.

Takeaway Points

  • Consumer online and e-commerce habits are constantly changing. The fraudsters and hackers are getting more and more stealthy and effective. There will need to be continued research and innovation to protect consumers and products. We are continuing to develop more research, and we are expanding our research team, such as with the lead author of this article, Professor Byung LEE, Ph.D.
  • The online and e-commerce marketplace is experiencing MASSIVE growth and is rapidly evolving. Food fraud vulnerability is growing in both likelihood and consequence.
  • Fortunately, a robust and fully implemented Food Fraud Prevention Strategy includes “management system” activities that constantly adjust to the new problems. So, take these new insights, consider your changing food fraud vulnerability assessment, and then how your food fraud prevention strategy should adjust.


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