food crime (23)

12198779081?profile=RESIZE_400xA new vacancy for a Senior Prevention and Relationship Management Officer has arisen at the Food Standards Agency's National Food Crime Unit (NFCU).

You will lead and line manage a team ensuring delivery of Prepare, Prevent and Protect projects, enabling the NFCU to achieve the intended outcomes of its 4P strategic and tactical action plans. Working closely with the food industry, other regulatory partners and internal partners, within the NFCU and wider FSA, the team work to support identification and mitigation of known vulnerabilities and emerging threats and risks. You’ll nurture and encourage the team to develop and implement innovative methods and tactics, from conception to delivery, which protect food businesses and the public.

You'll be playing your part in keeping food safe and what it says it is, and protecting UK consumers from deceptive practices in the food sector. 

For further information / to apply: Senior Prevention and Relationship Management Officer - Civil Service Jobs - GOV.UK

The deadline is 3rd September 2023.

Read more…

12178686066?profile=RESIZE_400xFood Standards Scotland (FSS) has this week launched its Food Crime Risk Profiling Tool, an online programme which allows companies to assess their vulnerabilities to criminality.

Using the tool allows businesses to assess themselves against a series of statements on topics, such as how they source materials and their supply methods, before being given an individual report at the end which will highlight areas of good practice as well including specific guidance on areas they may wish to improve on.

To support businesses through this process, FSS will be holding several free online workshops later this year to help develop opportunities to increase authenticity and improve food crime resilience – those who sign up to the tool will receive an invite to the workshops.

For more information and to sign up to the tool, visit:

The tool has also been added to the Tools_Guides_Reports part of our Food Fraud Prevention section.

Read more…

11017742885?profile=RESIZE_400x  The Scottish Food Crime & Incidents Unit (SFCIU) is a branch within Food Standards Scotland (FSS) which takes the lead role in the investigation of food crime. It has published its Control Strategy 2022-25 in conjunction with the NFCU (National Food Crime Unit) and was informed by the UK’s Food Crime Strategic Assessment, which FSS (Food Standards Scotland) developed with the FSA (Food Standards Agency). It outlines the food crime priorities and actions being taken to prevent food crime, detect and deter criminality and prosecute offenders. The Control Strategy looks to manage the threat of food crime and set out a clear path in what is a complex and challenging area. This work assessed information and intelligence from a range of sources and was supported by contributions from partner agencies and industry. It draws on the Divert, Deter, Detect and Disrupt framework, as utilised by the Scottish Government in their Serious Organised Crime (SOC) strategy, and which has been adopted by FSS to outline the key strategic objectives in the approach to tackling food crime.

You can download the Food Crime Strategy document here

Read more…

10943952272?profile=RESIZE_584xThe Food Authenticity Network is delighted to have been interviewed by Nick Hughes and be featured in this article in The Grocer that marks the tenth anniversary of the 2013 horsemeat issue, which rocked the food industry world-wide.

A decade on, there is widespread recognition that much of this trust has been rebuilt. Yet as we move into 2023, experts warn that a new perfect storm of factors is creating an ideal set of conditions for fraudsters to exploit. 

On the tenth anniversary of one of the industry’s darkest episodes, it’s timely to ask the question: is our food chain any safer from the risk of fraud?

“We have many more lines of defence [now],” says Emily Miles, CEO of the Food Standards Agency. “But that doesn’t mean there couldn’t be another scandal [like horsemeat].”

Read the full article.

Read more…

New Food Crime Video by the NFCU

The Food Standards Agency's National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) has published a video on the types of food crime you might come across and how to report it.

The NFCU and partners tackle food crime every day to make sure food is safe to eat and is what it says it is.

NFCU colleagues work closely with the food industry to ensure that businesses are well-informed and prepared so they know how to spot food crime and stop it.

Read more…


The SFCIU lists the red meat sector as high risk for food crime based on its past and present targeting by criminals across the supply chain. The potential risks to the industry are:

  • Fraudulent use of ID tags, cattle passports, accreditation etc.;
  • Mislabelling of durability date;
  • Other origin red meat sold as Scottish;
  • Lower quality of product misrepresented as premium;
  • Stolen livestock;
  • Illegal slaughter;
  • Animal by-products;
  • Food crime occurring in other meat products such as ready meals.

Read the article here

Read more…

10571571277?profile=RESIZE_400xFood Standards Scotland (FSS) is currently in the process of finalising an online risk profiling tool and guidance to support industry in preventing food crime. FSS is looking for businesses to be involved in the review stage of this initiative to ensure it supports industry and achieves its purpose.

Please see an invitation from Ron McNaughton, Head of the Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit:

Food Crime Risk Profiling Tool (

Please contact by 24th June if you would like to be part of the review.


Read more…

10520975885?profile=RESIZE_400xThe NFCU is a law enforcement unit of the FSA, and it tackles serious, organised, or complex cases of crime in relation to food. Its role is to detect, investigate and disrupt serious fraud and related criminality within food supply chains, across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The FSA would like to use the powers provided under the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, to give the NFCU additional investigative powers enabling food crime to be investigated more quickly, while also freeing up local police services. The FSA has issued a public consultation for all stakeholders on this proposed change. The closing date of the consultation is 18 August 2022.

Read the FSA's Press Release which gives a link to the consultation

Read more…

10162382496?profile=RESIZE_584xThis is Tenet's quarterly publication helping in house counsel and those from a science background assessing food safety keep up to date with current and emerging fraud related risks.

If you work in the food and drinks industry and take an interest in fraud and financial crime impact in the sector, please take a look at the 3rd issue of The Secret Ingredient.


Read more…


10031826478?profile=RESIZE_400xThis article by Bruker BioSpin looks at the work of the Food Authenticity Network, and how it fits in with tackling the increasing problem of food fraud. It is taken from a webinar, at which Will Souter interviewed the Executive Team of the Network and Sterling Crew, the Chair of its Advisory Board. The article not only describes what the Network has to offer, but it looks at other organisations that have been set up to fight food crime. 

Read the article here

Read more…

high-angle photography of grocery display gondolaThe food sector is subject to illegal practices of various types such as adulteration or exploitation of labour. In the media and public discourse, this phenomenon is often associated to activities by organised crime groups. Drawing on a socio-legal empirical study on the perception and conceptualisation of food crime in English and Italian public institutions, this paper unpacks the involvement of organised crime and mafia-type actors in the food sector. Considering data collected through in-depth interviews with representatives of law enforcement and other public authorities, supported by documentary sources, this research points out that, from both an institutional perspective that narrowly conceptualises as food crime as food fraud, as well as from a wider perspective that addresses other practices happening in the food sector, organised crime is involved in food crime. By referring to the English and Italian cases, and by merging different bodies of literature, such as green criminology and enterprise theory, this article advocates for conceptual clarity when referring to the involvement of corporate crime, organised crime and mafia-type groups active in the food sector. In so doing, it presents and reflects upon ‘organised food crime’ as a new socio-legal category and highlights its policy outcomes.

Read open access paper.

The same author published another related paper in 2020:

Food Crime: A Review of the UK Institutional Perception of Illicit Practices in the Food Sector

Food offers highly profitable opportunities to criminal actors. Recent cases, from wine and meat adulteration to milk powder contaminations, have brought renewed attention to forms of harmful activities which have long occurred in the food sector. Despite several scandals over the last few decades, food has so far received scant criminological attention and the concept of food crime remains subject to different definitions. This article assesses regulations in the United Kingdom (UK) and UK authorities’ official reports published between 2013 and 2018 through a review of academic literature published in English. It charts the evolution of the food crime concept, its various meanings, and different harmful activities associated with food crime, which originate from unlawful acts and omissions. This article also points out that further criminological research needs to address the definitional issue of food crime and inform a more integrated policy approach by considering activities beyond food fraud and the protection of food safety.

Read open access paper:

Read more…


Food crime is a key threat to food companies and consumers around the world. The cost to the global food industry for food fraud (which is only one type of crime) has been estimated at around EUR 30 billion every year, according to a 2018 report by the European Commission.

Many companies are making important efforts to reduce and prevent crime from happening across the supply chain and protect their customers and consumers everywhere.

In order to help the food sector to continue strengthening its efforts in preventing food crime, SSAFE has partnered with five leading experts to develop a free educational video series. Dr. John Spink, Dr. Chris Elliott, Dr. Wim Huisman, Jason Bashura and Neal Fredrickson take us on a journey through the world of food fraud, food defence and food integrity – what it is, what the issues are, what is being done, and what can be done in the future in order to help reduce and prevent food crime from occurring.

“Throughout history food crime has been a serious problem” says Adrian Sharp, President of SSAFE. “Working together with some of the best leading experts in the world on food fraud, food defence and food integrity SSAFE continues to help increase awareness and strengthen the food supply chain across the world. This lecture series should be very helpful and informative in helping the food industry, from farm to fork, reduce food crime for a better future.”

This free video series, which can be accessed through the SSAFE website (, will help people working across the food sector better understand what food crime is, the different types of crime that may occur, and what a food business can do about it. Through a broad series of short videos these global experts share their decades worth of knowledge and experience to help strengthen food supply around the world.

Dr. Chris Elliott says “The SSAFE Food Crime Prevention Series is the first of its kind and I hope that both industry and government agencies will find the videos informative and helpful in combatting the growing menace of criminal activity in our global food system.”

This video series complements other important tools from SSAFE such as the Food Fraud Vulnerability Assessment tool developed in 2016 available through the 'Tools' page of the Food Authenticity Network's Food Fraud Mitigation section. This tool (available for free in ten languages) enables any food company to self-assess their vulnerability to food fraud. The tool has been a great success with 40,000+ downloads and more than 7,500 online assessments completed across 70+ countries.

In addition to these tools, SSAFE will be launching a free Food Safety Culture assessment tool this summer. Please visit the SSAFE website next month (April 2021) for further information.

The SSAFE Food Crime Prevention Lecture Series has also been added to the 'Guidance' page of the Food Authenticity Network's Food Fraud Mitigation section.

Read more…


The UK National Food Crime Unit has launched a new newsletter. 

This newsletter is intended to keep you informed of what the National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) believe to be the current issues that are affecting the food industry. It is aimed at all sectors. It aims to improve awareness of significant or new trends in the food industry in order to strengthen the overall response to food crime.


The first edition includes articles on:

  • Covid-19
  • Theft of Meat
  • European Distribution Fraud
  • Food Service Sector
  • Cannabis edibles - THC laced sweets
  • Shellfish allergy triggered by straws
  • Mass culling of birds

If you want to receive copies of the NFCU's Food Crime Newsletters then sign up at or become a Member of the Food Authenticity Network for free and they will be emailed, when available, with our Monthly Highlights Emails.


Read more…

7983965864?profile=RESIZE_584xThe Food Standards Agency’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) and Food Standards Scotland’s Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit (SFCIU) have published an assessment of food crime threats to the UK.

The Food Crime Strategic Assessment examines areas of the food supply chain which may be vulnerable to food crime, as well identifying emerging threats which need to be addressed. 

The assessment found that most food crime relates to two broad activities – either selling something of little or no value to the food chain as edible and marketable, or selling passable food, drink or feed as a product with greater volume or more desirable attributes. In practice, this could include replacing ingredients with cheaper and inferior materials, falsely extending use-by dates, or deliberately marketing unsafe products as being fit for human consumption. 

The NFCU have identified priority areas of work for this year in their control strategy. These areas include combatting the selling of dangerous non-foods sold for human consumption, preventing illegal shellfish entering the food chain, and increasing understanding of the use of online platforms to facilitate food crime. The Unit will continue its work with local authorities, law enforcement agencies and the food industry to prevent and protect against incidences of food crime and take action when they occur. 

The SSFCIU has also published its Control Strategy 2020/21, which outlines the food crime priorities and actions being taken to prevent food crime, detect and deter criminality and prosecute offenders. The Control Strategy looks to manage the threat of food crime and set out a clear path in what is a complex and challenging area. This strategy is informed by the UK’s Food Crime Strategic Assessment which FSS developed jointly with Food Standards Agency (FSA). This work assessed information and intelligence from a range of sources and was supported by contributions from partner agencies and industry.

Further information can be found here.













Read more…

A freedom of information request by the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) to the FSA's National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) revealed that in 2018 there were 1,193 food crimes recorded. Examples of food crime include the use of stolen food in the supply chain, unlawful slaughter, diversion of unsafe food, adulteration, substitution or misrepresentation, and document fraud. The most common food crime recorded by the NFCU is the ‘knowing sale of food substances not suitable for human consumption’, which could have consequences for public health. In 2018, there were 310 reported cases in this category, as compared to 73 in the previous year.

3689023291?profile=RESIZE_710x  Read the article here

Read more…

3549856866?profile=RESIZE_710xRachel Gullaksen, Sean Daly and Malcolm Burns (from left to right) looking at multispectral imaging applications for food authenticity

The Food Standards Agency’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) aims to help protect businesses and consumers from fraudulent supply chains through building relationships with industry, delivering crime prevention initiatives and conducting thorough, proportionate investigations where necessary. This is to support the Food Standard Agency to deliver its overarching strategy that “food is safe and is what it says it is”.

Following an increase to its budget, the NFCU has seen significant extension of the unit’s capabilities and remit in terms of its investigation and crime disruption capabilities and the prevention of food crime. As part of its outreach programme and as a follow-up to a meeting between Darren Davies, Head of the NFCU and the Government Chemist, Julian Braybrook and Selvarani Elahi in May 2019, colleagues from the NFCU visited LGC.

Selvarani Elahi gave a presentation on the Food Authenticity Network, highlighting the benefits of closer collaboration between this growing global network and the NFCU, both of which were created by the UK government to address the recommendations of the Elliott Review.

NFCU colleagues were taken on a tour of LGC’s National Measurement Laboratories where LGC staff demonstrated research on a range of technologies from point-of-use screening to confirmatory methods capable of combating food crime or food fraud .


Read more…

The National Food Crime Unit intercepted consignments of coconut water imported to the UK via the Port of Felixstowe earlier this year and analysed 12 samples. Of those, seven tested positive for sugar from external sources, such as sugar derived from starch, sugar cane or maize.

In total, nearly 400 tonnes of coconut water were seized or removed from the market, though the FSA stressed none of the products posed a risk to public health.

Read the full article from The Grocer here.

Read more…
European Food Crime‏ publishes a paper that argues that food fraud, rather than being an ‘exogenous’ phenomenon perpetrated by externally organized (transnational) ‘criminal enterprise’, is better understood as an ‘endogenous’ phenomenon within the food system where legitimate occupational actors and organizations are in some way necessarily involved.
Read more…