shellfish (2)

UK Seizure of Illegally Harvested Shellfish

10806985279?profile=RESIZE_710xShellfish harvesting is highly regulated in most countries, including the UK.  Harvest areas are opened or closed by regulatory authorities depending on water quality and potentially toxic algal blooms.  Illegal harvesting from closed areas puts consumers at risk as they can carry E coli, norovirus or be contaminated with high levels of toxic chemicals..  It is a perennial problem and previous incidents have involved large-scale organised crime.

A recent crackdown by authorities (the council, Sussex Police, Food Standards Agency, National Food Crime Unit, Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority and Gangmaster Labour Abuse Authority) on the English South Coast led to the seizure of illegally harvested shellfish.

This case was part of Operation Pearl and involved months of covert investigations had taken place to understand how the illegally harvested shellfish were reaching food businesses and consumers.

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Food Standards Scotland’s Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit (SFCIU) have highlighted four sectors as priorities, which have been targeted and continue to be targeted by criminals committing food fraud:-

- Red meat: fraudulently tagged livestock, stolen livestock, illegal slaughter and substitution of product, false declaration of origin or durability date.

- Fish: substitution by cheaper species or lower quality fish, misdescription of origin especially for salmon, import of illegally treated tuna, fraudulent use of official certification in UK, and impact of Brexit on Scottish supply chain.

- Shellfish: illegally harvested shellfish, misrepresentation of quality and origin of shellfish, falsification of registration and landing documents, and   use of modern slavery and exploitation for harvesting shellfish.

- Alcoholic drinks: counterfeit branded spirits and wine, import or smuggling of fake vodka, production of illicit alcohol, and import and use of material and equipment to produce imitation alcohol products.

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