AbstractFollowing major criminal cases in the food system, such as the Horsemeat and fipronil egg scandals, the phenomenon of food fraud has emerged as a priority concern for supranational (e.g. European Union) and domestic policymakers and regulatory authorities. Alongside this, there is increasing interest from academics working in both the natural and social sciences (but rarely together), where we see common and overlapping objectives but varied discourses and orientations. Consequently, various framings about the nature, organisation and control of food fraud have emerged, but it is not always clear which of these are more reflective of actual food fraud realities. This article analyses three key areas in the literature on food fraud where we see fault lines emerging: 1. food fraud research orientations; 2. food fraud detection and prevention (and the dehumanisation and decontextualisation associated with analytical testing); and, 3. food fraud regulation and criminalisation. We argue that these fault lines raise questions over the plausibility of knowledge on food frauds and in some cases produce specious arguments. This is significant for food fraud policy, strategy and operation, in particular in terms of how we generate expectations about the actual realities of food fraud and corresponding actions that are realised, and make knowledge practically adequate.