Food Standards Scotland cites its top food crime priorities

A new report by the Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit (SFCIU) says that red meat, fish, illicit alcohol and wild shellfish are the top sectors vulnerable to food crime in the UK.

Those four categories are designated as high risk in the latest SFCIU report on food crime “not because they pose a direct safety risk to consumers, nor because those sectors are less vigilant, but because they are particularly attractive to those with criminal intent,” say the group.

Threats in the red meat sector range from livestock theft and the infiltration of meat from stolen or illicitly slaughtered animals into food chains, to adulteration, misrepresentation and animal identification issues.

Concerns around fish focus on white fish speciation – in other words is the fish actually what is claimed on the label – as well as the application of illicit treatments to tuna such as adulteration with nitrites to enhance its colour and appearance.

For illicit alcohol, the main issue is the huge potential for harm from these products – which often contain dangerous chemicals like methanol – even though the prevalence in the market is relatively low. There’s also the “less harmful but detrimental issues of counterfeit and substandard wines,” according to the report.

Finally, illegal harvesting continues around the UK coastline, followed by misrepresentation of product provenance to secure entry into the food chain, says the SFCIU report, which was compiled in collaboration with the Food Standards Agency’s National Food Crime Unit.

“It is important to emphasise that the UK is an extremely safe food environment, but no supply chain is immune to the potential threat that food crime poses,” commented Ron McNaughton, head of the SFCIU, which is part of Food Standards Scotland.

There are three key lines of defence for ensuring that food is both safe and authentic, with roles to play for food businesses and the regulatory and law enforcement community, as well as for consumers in “shopping thoughtfully and raising concerns where they hold them,” says the report.

“The SFCIU is focused on ensuring our food is both safe and what it claims to be, and takes a global, collaborative approach in order to protect public health and make Scotland’s food and drink sector resilient to food crime,” added McNaughton.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top