UK goes with Food Crime Confidential

The UK Food Standards Agency’s National Food Crime Unit has launched Food Crime Confidential. This is a reporting facility where anyone with suspicions about food crime can report them safely and in confidence, over the phone or through email. The facility is particularly targeted at those working in or around the UK food industry.

food.crime.confidentialThe FSA’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) works with partners to protect people from serious criminal activity that impacts the safety or authenticity of food and drink they consume.

Food crime involves dishonesty at any stage in the production or supply of food. It is often complex and likely to be seriously detrimental to consumers, businesses or the general public interest.

NFCU would like to receive any information relating to suspected dishonesty involving food, drink or animal feed. In addition to identifying and being able to tackle specific instances of food crime, such information will help us learn more about the circumstances that make offending possible.

The National Food Crime Unit would like to hear from anyone if they have suspicions including:

that food or drink contains things which it shouldn’t

that methods used in your workplace for producing, processing, storing, labelling or transporting food do not seem quite right

that an item of food or drink says it is of a certain quality or from a specific place or region, but it doesn’t appear to be.

Call 0207 276 8787 or email

Head of Food Crime at the FSA, Andy Morling said: ‘The National Food Crime Unit is committed to putting consumers first in everything we do. That is why we are launching Food Crime Confidential today to ensure that those with information about food crime can report it in confidence. The facility is open to anyone who has information about food which is being dishonestly produced, manufactured or sold.

‘We particularly want to hear from those who work in or around the UK food industry. We recognise that picking up the phone to pass on suspicions about an employer or an associate can be a big deal. That’s why we’ll ensure the information provided will be handled sensitively and professionally.’


There’s (food) crime in the city

The Food Crime Annual Strategic Assessment (FCASA), carried out by the The Food Standards Agency (FSA) National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) on behalf of the FSA and Food Standards Scotland, examines the scale and nature of the food crime threat to the UK’s £200 billion food and drink industry. The assessment will inform the NFCU’s priorities over the next year.

the-sopranos-001The assessment identifies a wide range of vulnerabilities and risks across the food industry but found little to suggest that organized crime groups have so far made substantial in-roads into UK food supply chains.  However, with the UK food and drink sector representing 11% of the UK economy and chances of detection relatively low, the report suggests there remains a significant risk to consumers and legitimate businesses from serious fraud.

Andy Morling, Head of the NFCU, said, ‘The NFCU was established in the wake of the horsemeat incident. That incident came at a huge cost to the UK food industry, not just financially but also in terms of reputation. It illustrated why it is vital for the food industry, law enforcement agencies and regulators to work together to combat the threat of food crime.

From the executive summary:

Food and drink is a £200 billion industry in the UK and like any major industry, it’s vulnerable to a wide range of criminal activity. Unlike many industries, the crimes are often undetected or unreported. Consumers may not be aware they are victims of food crime, while businesses can worry that reporting a crime will damage their reputation or profits. Nonetheless, reported or otherwise, the impact of food crime can be extremely harmful to individuals, the economy and the UK’s reputation.

For the purposes of this report we define food crime as dishonesty in food production or supply, which is either complex or results in serious harm to consumers, businesses or the public interest. We’ve worked hard to gain insight into this diverse, complex and nuanced area of criminal activity.

As well as exploring what current intelligence and reporting can tell us about food crime, our initial assessment also highlights what we don’t know, and why this might be the case. Estimating the scale and impact of food crime can be challenging. Fraud is by definition a hidden activity and the parties involved may be skilled at cloaking their criminality. This challenge has been magnified by a lack of available intelligence and crime reporting relating to this area.

China’s top court demands heavy penalties for food safety violations

China’s top court has demanded heavy penalties for companies and individuals who violate the country’s food safety laws, the official Xinhua news agency reported late on Wednesday. Supreme People’s Court said in a circular on Wednesday that companies selling food online should be held wholly liable for any safety issues affecting consumers and urged firms to compensate consumers more quickly.

The country’s main prosecutor also said that it had investigated 652 officials relating to misconduct over food safety protection, including for embezzlement and taking bribes, Xinhua reported. The probes took place since the start of 2014.

Rat poison deliberately added to yogurt kills 2 children in China

Chinese state media say two girls have died after eating poisoned yogurt placed outside their kindergarten at the direction of the head of a rival school.

The Xinhua News Agency says police believe the poisoning was motivated by competition for students between the schools.

It says the woman confessed that she injected the yogurt with rat poison and asked a man to place it with notebooks on the road to the rival kindergarten in poison.skullPingshan county in Hebei province.

Xinhua said Thursday that the girls’ grandmother found the books and yogurt and took them home on April 24. The children suffered convulsions after drinking the yogurt and died later.