I recently encountered some sellers trying to pass off what probably was counterfeit food at my supermarket. The counterfeiting was easy to detect. Some products had labels that were faded and not as bright as they usually appear. Other items had crooked labels and strange blotches around the letters that appear to have occurred during, not after printing. Others, I only identified after eating and found the taste quite inconsistent with what I usually get.

Suppose I find food items that do not have such obvious printing mistakes. Are there additional ways I can determine if a product is genuine? Can any of the labels, such as the numbers printed on the bottom of canned soup, tell me if the product is authentic?

  • 3
    In order to answer this question, it's very important to know where you are. The answer will differ in different jurisdictions.
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 5:49

3 Answers 3


The marks and various labelling quirks might help you but this is something that's going to vary hugely from product to product. Ultimately, I can't see a good solution that doesn't involve talking to the genuine version's creators.

  • They might be able to explain printing errors or recipe changes,
  • They should be able to describe their product so you can compare (you could do this yourself),
  • They might be familiar with existing fakes out there,
  • They're the people who should be most motivated to end the fraud.

Even if this isn't a counterfeit, you'll help the manufacturer by reporting a dodgy batch. In my experience, they reward this with coupons that usually more than cover a replacement.

If after all this you still suspect something is wrong, you should probably also notify authorities. In the UK we have Trading Standards (local council), Action Fraud (police) and Brand-i (trademark body). You might have similar where you are.

But most importantly, check what you're buying before you buy it. By the sounds of it you've already eaten this stuff and that's just something I'd never do. The food is counterfeit for a reason: it probably doesn't meet standards put in place to protect your safety.


Nowadays all food products have the scannable codes which can use to check the authenticity of the product. They are the codes like barcodes, QR codes etc. For eg. Neurotags(Anti-counterfeit solution) is providing the tags using the QR code to verify the originality of the product. Hope you find this useful.

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    Most, not all, foods do have bar codes. (At least in the US.) Unfortunately, scanning a bar code does not authenticate a product in any way.
    – Cindy
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 12:06
  • Yes, barcodes and QR codes can also be counterfeited. Commented Jul 15, 2018 at 5:40
  • It is possible to authenticate the product using Nuerotags- anti-counterfeit technology. You can check neurotags.com and this tags cannot be counterfeited.
    – mayuri
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 9:02

Europe has a legal procedure to thoroughly monitor all types of foods when buying any Food or Product. The buyer may require a document called a certificate of compliance. With this certificate, legal claims may be raised in the absence of traceability of the chain

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