nfcu (9)

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

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10449178488?profile=RESIZE_400xThis 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 aims to improve awareness of significant or new trends in the food industry in order to strengthen the overall response to food crime.

The newsletter is available to FoodAuthenticity members by kind permission of the FSA National Food Crime Unit, but is not intended for onward dissemination. Please contact the NFCU Outreach Team if you would like others to receive this newsletter at:


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10144795084?profile=RESIZE_400xThe European distribution fraud (EDF) questionnaire has been created by the National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) for the food industry to help fully understand potential vulnerabilities regarding EDF.

The NFCU would like to invite you to complete this questionnaire as the data captured will help in the development of bespoke materials to address these issues and share best practice amongst industry allowing food businesses to potentially develop/implement procedures to protect themselves from EDF.

The questionnaire should take no more than 10 minutes of your time. All submissions are anonymous unless you choose to provide your companies name within the questionnaire. If you have any issues accessing the questionnaire or would like to give more information after completing the questionnaire, please send an email to 

Questionnaire Link.

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In a report to the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) Board in December, Emily Miles, FSA's Chief Executive reported on the active investigations being carried out by the NFCU. These include: 

Operation Atlas - concerning the sale of 2,4 dinitrophenol in controlled drugs and presciption only medicines. A successful prosecution has taken place in this operation.

Operation Aspen - where fraudsters posing as UK catering franchises online had obtained obtained hundreds of thousands pounds worth of food products from European businesses.

Operation Bantam - where fraudsters have obtained illicit poultry animal by-products (ABP) not fit for human consumption, processed them and diverted them into the human food chain. The NFCU is working with several local authorities investigating businesses involved with this trade, and two are taking prosecutions.

Operation Hawk -  is exploring large scale misrepresentation of country of origin on packed meat products.

Operation Boston - concerns the diversion of Category 3 animal by-products into the human food chain, as well as the supply of substandard and misdescribed red meat to Ghana.

Read the full article here


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The Food Standards Agency's National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) has received two reports of organised meat theft which may have food safety consequences for consumers. One report from a major retailer was about the theft of meat and poultry items by a driver network. The theft is believed to have taken place over a considerable time period, and there is concern that the stolen products may have entered the human food chain via a restaurant. As the stolen meat may have spent some time outside the cold cgain, it may have posed a risk to human health.

The second report concerns an organised group obtaining meat fraudulently from meat processors and traders, where a woman placed orders for meat products over the phone, and paid for them using several credit cards, which later turned out be stolen outside the UK. The woman has then organised for a taxi to transport the meat to fictional addresses in London and Southend-On-Sea, again paying for the taxi by means of a credit card. The taxi was later diverted to another address in Southend and, in one case, the meat was loaded into a van. Subsequently, both the meat purveyor and the taxi firms were notified that the payments made on the credit cards were fraudulent, meaning they were required to refund the transactions.

Read the article here

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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.


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3843236670?profile=RESIZE_710xFIIN was established in 2015, in response to the Elliott Review on the horsemeat incident, with the aim of ensuring the integrity of food supply chains through the collection, analysis and sharing of intelligence. It has more than doubled its membership from the original 21 members when it was established. Since reporting first commenced, FIIN has collated over 250,000 product authenticity test results, which have been analysed and disseminated between members to provide valuable insight and intelligence. 25% of the current membership represents companies with a turnover of £100 million or less, who greatly benefit from this pooling of combined resources and data. The Network has also signed agreements with Food Standards Scotland (FSS), the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) National Food Crime Unit, and Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) to establish two-way pipelines of information exchange. Prof. Chris Elliott (photo) is a FIIN board member and independent advisor, and states that “food crime is an ongoing and rising threat, but in my opinion the UK is now the best-placed country in the world to fight back".  

Read the article here

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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

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Adulterated saffron sold in West Sussex has led to the seizure of product worth £750,000 at a clandestine factory in Alicante, Spain. Saffron adulterated with other lower-quality plant ingredients was discovered by Trading Standards Officers from West Sussex County Council as part of a small scale market survey in 2017. The results were relayed to the National Food Crime Unit of the Food Standards Agency, who contacted the Spanish authorities. A total of 90kg of product was seized from a clandestine factory in Alicante by the Spanish authorities, and two individuals arrested.  

13069780?profile=RESIZE_710x Read the article here or the West Sussex County Council Press Release

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