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How to Recognise and Report Food Crime

Different types of food crime cost the economy more than £1 billion a year in the United Kingdom. So, how do we define it and how can you report a food crime in confidence?

WHAT IS FOOD CRIME? The true definition of food crime can appear as several different semblances and guises.

As a rule, someone committing food crime will be doing so with intentional dishonesty.

The effects create a detrimental impact on the authenticity or the safety of foodstuffs, drinks, or animal feed.

This type of criminal fraud usually involves the of selling food or drink that the offenders have tampered with. Other cases involve the use of cheaper ingredients than those listed on food and drink labelling and packaging.

The main role of the National Food Crime Unit is tackling the different types of food crime in United Kingdom. The NFCU have identified some of the most common techniques used to commit food crimes.

Common Food Crime Techniques

  1. Adulteration: Adding a foreign substance to reduce the quality of food or drink. Criminals use this technique to save money or to fake a higher quality product.
  2. Document fraud: Making, using, and possessing false documents. The main intention is to sell or to market either a fraudulent or a substandard product.
  3. Misrepresentation: The wrong portrayal of origin, quality, safety, or freshness in false marketing or labelling.
  4. Substitution: Replacing a food or an ingredient with a similar, cheaper, inferior substance.
  5. Theft: Stealing food, drink, or animal feed products to profit from selling them or using them.
  6. Unlawful processing: Slaughter or preparation of meat and related products using unauthorised techniques or in unapproved premises. It may also apply to the poaching of wild animals to sell for consumption.
  7. Waste diversion: The unlawful diversion of food, drink, or feed back into the supply chain instead of disposal.

Reporting Food Crime in Confidence

The National Food Crime Unit launched ‘Food Crime Confidential’ in June 2016. It is a reporting facility that allows anyone to report suspicions of food crime in strict confidence.

You can either report a food crime by phone or through an online message. The result means that details of the person reporting this type of criminal fraud do not get shared with anyone else.

There may be similar instances of some concern whereby there is no direct intention to deceive or use deliberate dishonesty. These cases still need reporting to the appropriate local authority instead of the NFCU.

What happens if you send information to the NFCU about a wrongdoing or a criminal activity? They will protect your personal information according to current data protection laws.

The NFCU will not share your details with any other part of the Agency or with any of the other partners. But, you can choose to give them permission to use your information at the end of the form (optional).

Report a Food Crime by Telephone

You can use the link to share information about food crimes with the National Food Crime Unit. You can also make a phone call to Food Crime Confidential on 0207 276 8787.

Defining and Reporting Food Crime in United Kingdom