This is a review of our past food fraud prevention-related criminology research that was published in Criminology scholarly journals. This research started in 2006 based on my MSU Packaging Science PhD research titled “Analysis of Counterfeit Risks and Development of a Counterfeit Product Risk Model.” This model became the Product Counterfeiting Incident Clustering Tool (PCICT) that was published in the 2012 International Standards Organization publication ISO 12931:2012 Performance criteria for authentication solutions used to combat counterfeiting of material goods (note ISO 12931 was updated to ISO 22383:2020).
Our criminology research and publications evolved during 2009 to 2012 when I was an Assistant Professor Faculty member in the MSU School of Criminal Justice. This was a fascinating expansion of the food fraud prevention research since it built upon long-established criminology theories and included working with some of the top scholars at MSU and in the discipline. It was a surprise at the time that the counterfeiting terms had not been the subject of an academic research project and publication. Our key publications during this time included “Defining the Types of Counterfeiters, Counterfeiting, and Offender Organizations.” Another one of our important publications was the first in-depth review of the methods to analyze the impact of counterfeiting in “Review of Reports Quantifying the Economic Impact of Counterfeiting and Piracy.” My idea for this article came after being interviewed for the U.S. Government Accountability Office project. It is interesting that through their surveys their project shifted from estimating the economic impact to evaluating the methods to evaluate the economic impact.
Classifying the Criminal Enterprise and the Funding of Terrorism
As our research proceeded we found more unanswered questions. One key question was how to classify the offender and their organization. This may seem like a simple question but without the classification there are challenges such as applying funding for investigation or prosecution. Product fraud is a hybrid crime that has components of both white collar crime and traditional crime. This was addressed in “When Crime Defies Classification: The Case of Product Counterfeiting as White Collar Crime.” Next, there was a challenge to resource allocation when combating product counterfeiting was promoted as a way to reduce the terrorist funding. We directly addressed this in “Product Fraud and Counterfeiting as a Source of Terrorist Funding.”
Over time, our applied research has shifted to Food Fraud policy, strategy, and prevention.
Three Main Criminology Research Areas that Apply to Food Fraud Prevention:
- Situational Crime Prevention/ Routine Activities Theory: The early work quickly led to the foundational principles of prevention presented in these theories. “If the bad guy was a microbe we would go to the discipline of microbiology; the bad guy is a human so it is natural we draw upon the social sciences, behavioral sciences, and criminology.” The research is focused on applying these underlying theories to applied problems.
- Prevention versus Intervention and Response: Throughout the publications there is a constant theme of shifting the focus from the reactive to proactive actions. While investigation, enforcement, and prosecution are critical to reduce the threat, there must be a vigilant and diligent focus on prevention. For enterprises (e.g. companies, industries, or governments) to protect themselves and reduce the ‘fraud opportunity’ they must focus on reducing the attractiveness of attacking their product or country.
- Establishing a Scholarly Foundation: Throughout the early research it became clear there was a lack of even the most foundational references or citations. Most of the previous publications and research projects accepted common definitions and moved quickly to focus on applied questions or data gathering. For example, in our early publications, we struggled to just find a citation to define the term “counterfeiting” or “food fraud.” Later we explored questions such as “is product counterfeiting a white collar crime” or “what is the role of counterfeit product in funding terrorism.”
There is an important role for academics in addressing very complex and applied concepts such as product fraud prevention. While working with enterprises on their urgent and critical needs the underlying, unanswered research questions often become revealed. Our food fraud research mission is to focus on and address those foundational questions and test the theories in practice. For more resources, a bibliography is provided below.
References: Selected References from the Criminology theory and in the criminology press:
Selection of the Top-5 articles:
- Spink, J, and Moyer, DC, (2011) Defining the Public Health Threat of Food Fraud, Journal of Food Science, Volume 75 (Number 9), p. 57-63. (ISI 1.791; SJR 0.378)
- Spink, J., Moyer, DC, Park, H., and Heinonen, J. (2013) Defining the Types of Counterfeiters, Counterfeiting, Offender Organizations, Crime Science Journal, Volume 2, Number 8, pp. 1-10. (ISI NA; SJR Pending)
- Spink, J., Moyer, DC, Park, H., and Heinonen, J. (2014). Development of a Product Counterfeiting Clustering Tool, Crime Science Journal, Volume 3, Number 3, pp. 1-8. (ISI NA; SJR Pending)
- Spink, J. & Fejes, Z, (2012) Review of Reports Quantifying the Economic Impact of Counterfeiting and Piracy, International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, Volume 36, Number 4, p. 1-23. (ISI NA; SJR NA)
- Spink, J (2011).The Challenge of Intellectual Property Enforcement for Agriculture Technology Transfers, Additives, Raw Materials, and Finished Goods against Product Fraud and Counterfeiters, Journal of Intellectual Property Rights, Volume 16, March 2011, pp 183-193. (ISI 0.304; SJR 0.245)
- Heinonen, J., Spink, J., & Wilson, JM, (2014). When Crime Defies Classification: The Case of Product Counterfeiting as White Collar Crime, Security Journal, Volume 0, Number 0,pp. 00-00. (ISI 0.455; SJR 0.293)
- Spink, J. (In Press) Product Fraud and Counterfeiting as a Source of Terrorist Funding, Security Journal, Volume 00, Number 00, pp. 00-00. (ISI 0.455; SJR 0.293)
- Spink, J, and Moyer, DC, (2010). Defining Food Fraud and the Chemistry of the Crime: An Overview, Food Engineering and Ingredients, October (ISI NA; SJR 0.101)
Other (Chapters, Sections, or Conference Proceedings)
- Fenoff, R. and Spink, J. (2014) Chapter: Currency, Products, and Documents, Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Editors: Bruinsma, G, Weisburd, D, Springer, ISBN 978-1-4614-5689-6
- Spink, J. (2013) Chapter: Adulteration, Economically Motivated, Encyclopedia of White Collar and Corporate Crime (2nd Edition), Editors: Salinger, LM, Sage Publications, ISBN: 9781452225302
- Spink, J. (2013) Chapter: Food Fraud, Encyclopedia of White Collar and Corporate Crime Encyclopedia (2nd Edition), Editor: Salinger, LM, Sage Publications, ISBN: 97814522253026.
- Fenoff, R. and Spink, J. (2013) Chapter: Product Counterfeiting, Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Editors Bruinsma, G, Weisburd, D, Springer, ISBN 978-1-4614-5689-6
- Spink, J. (2013). Adulteration and Economically Motivated. In L. Salinger (Ed.), Encyclopedia of white-collar and corporate crime. (2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 12-14). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, ISBN 000-0-0000-0000-0
- Spink, J. (2013). Food Fraud. Encyclopedia of White Collar and Corporate Crime (2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 78-79). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, ISBN 000-0-0000-0000-0.
- Spink, J (2012). Chapter: Overview of the Selection of Strategic Authentication and Tracing Programmes. In: Counterfeit Medicines: Volume I. Policy, Economics, and Countermeasures, Albert Wertheimer and Perry Wang (Eds.), (pp. 111-128), Hertfordshire, United Kingdom: ILM Publications, a trade division of International Labmate Ltd., ISBN 9781906799083.