Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has announced that, to date, seventeen Scottish food and drink industry organisations have pledged to support its Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit (SFCIU) in raising awareness of food crime and how to report it.
Food crime is a risk to public health and to the reputation of the Scottish food and drink industry. The term food crime covers a range of different fraudulent actions including:
- food fraud - swapping or adding cheaper, lower quality or dangerous ingredients
- document fraud - fraudulently using the identity of a genuine food business or using falsified documents to assure the quality of a product
- illicit goods – selling a product as something it isn’t, such as counterfeit alcohol
- illegal slaughter – slaughtering farmed and wild animals under conditions which don't meet animal welfare or hygiene standards
- mislabelling - deliberately falsifying information on food labels, for example, saying goods are Scottish produce, free range or organic when they are not
- unfit food - allowing food to be sold that could be a risk to consumers, from putting animal by-products back into the food chain, to changing use-by-dates.
It is estimated that food crime costs the UK economy around £1.2 billion each year.
Sources: FSS, 21 January 2020 and FSS (SCIFU), 2020