SPOILED: Corruption From Farm to Table

Throughout history, food has played an essential role in the construction of cultural identity. A country’s cuisine is a product of its heritage and customs. And accessibility to safe food, many say, is a human right.

But the journey from farm to table has become increasingly complex, threatening traditional ideas about what and how we eat. A growing population means large-scale operations are needed to produce the food our planet needs, but these systems can also make our food supply less transparent. And as the distance between where food is grown and where it’s consumed increases, corruption has a growing opportunity to seep onto our plates.

SPOILED: Corruption from Farm to Table

Chef's Sampler Menu

A note from the editors about what we're serving up.

Illegal Street TacosMexico

On city streets in Mexico’s largest cities, an esteemed culinary heritage is up against another deeply ingrained, yet less auspicious, tradition: corruption.

Bread Bought with a BribeEgypt

Corruption in Egypt’s bread supply contributed to the historic ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. Yet, with limited reforms enacted since then, the pervasive corruption in Egypt’s wheat market continues to create instability in the country.

Tainted Breakfast MilkChina

In northern China’s remote Anding District, 244 students simultaneously fell ill last year after eating a school breakfast. Officials say the children made it up.

Mystery Meat School LunchLithuania

More than a year after kindergarten students were sickened from school food, parents say low quality products and those with misleading labels continue to enter Vilnius kindergartens.

Chicken of Questionable OriginGlobal

A ranking of 21 OECD countries reveals how well they can trace food in times of crisis.

Conflict GreensBrazil

In Brazil’s fertile Amazon region, a movement of landless farmers is struggling against a powerful agricultural giant accused of corruption, unafraid to use deadly force.

Smuggled Jollof RiceNigeria

A tax increase on rice imported into Nigeria resulted in a massive surge in regional smuggling, thanks to Nigeria’s notoriously porous borders.

Fish & Chips, With a CatchSouth Africa

After unprecedented numbers of fishermen were left jobless following the country’s recent permitting process, some are blaming a lack of transparency and possible corruption.

A Little Curry, No RiceNepal

Nepal, in partnership with the Japanese government, has attempted to reduce the effects of a food shortage by distributing subsidized rice. Yet, these efforts haven’t done enough, and many blame the shortfall on a common culprit: corruption.