Food crime is a risk to public health and to the global reputation and economy of the Scottish food and drink industry. Examples of this type of criminality could be any of the following:
- Fraud - food or drink that has been adulterated or substituted using poorer quality, mislabelled or dangerous ingredients
- Illicit goods - selling a product as something it isn't, such as counterfeit alcohol e.g. fake vodka or wine
- Identity theft - fraudulently using the identity of a legitimate food business and the movement of livestock and food using falsified documents
- Illegal slaughter - the slaughter of farmed and wild animals in conditions which do not meet animal welfare or hygiene standards
- Unfit food - everything from putting animal by-products back into the food chain, to beef and poultry of unknown origin, or selling goods after their "use by" date.
Food fraud and food crime came to public attention during the discovery of undeclared horse meat in various meat products in early 2013. During routine inspections and sampling, Officers of Environmental Health are looking for evidence of any attempts to mislead consumers or provide food which is dangerous. The resultant time expended dealing with issues related to fraud is substantial.
With the creation of the Food Crime and Incidents Unit at Food Standards Scotland, there will be an increased demand on Environmental Health Services to provide intelligence on a routine basis. The expectation, focus and demands of this work are likely to continue to increase. For further information on food crime, please contact the Environmental Health Service.
If you wish to report a food crime, contact Food Crime Hotline, hosted by Crimestoppers on 0800 028 7926. Further information can be obtained from the Food Standards Scotland website.