Food Crime

The Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit (SFCIU) includes the investigations and intelligence gathering arms of Food Standards Scotland (FSS).

The Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit (SFCIU) includes the investigations and intelligence gathering arms of Food Standards Scotland (FSS) who focus on tackling food crime and maintaining consumer protection.

Their remit in relation to food, drink and animal feed, is to prevent, investigate and disrupt:

  • Serious and/or complex fraudulent conduct
  • Serious and/or regulatory non-compliance involving dishonesty

in relation to the Scottish food and drink industry.

Conduct is considered serious in this context where it is likely to result in:

  • Significant risks to public safety
  • Substantial gain to the offender or loss to consumers
  • Pan-regional or transnational offending, or
  • Significant public concern.

The Unit has a dedicated Intelligence Office which analyses, develops and actions information received from members of the public, food business operators and industry whistle-blowers.

The Investigations team investigate instances of food crime. The team may also support Local Authorities with enquiries into serious breaches of food safety and assist with complex and protracted investigations.

What is Food Crime?

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, deliberate mis-labelling the product’s country of origin, for example claiming the product is Scottish when it is produced elsewhere.
  • 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.

How to report Food Crime

Whether you are a member of the public or working within the food and drink sector you can report food crime in one of the following ways:

The Scottish Food Crime Hotline (0800 028 7926), in partnership with Crimestoppers, is a free telephone number where you can contact us anonymously if you have any information or suspicions about potential food-related crime.

You can also submit information using the online webform.

The Hotline and webform are both hosted by Crimestoppers, a widely respected and independent charitable organisation which has for many years been the link between members of the public and industry wishing to anonymously report their concerns to law enforcement agencies.  The information you provide, no matter how insignificant you may believe it to be, could be key to a new or ongoing investigation. Your information will be analysed, researched and actioned accordingly.

Food crime and consumer safety issues affect you and those closest to you. Take the time to report it by providing as much detail as you can so we can target those involved.

Local Authorities

Local Authorities can apply for financial support from FSS to assist with enforcement and investigation activities. Decisions on the nature, eligibility and extent of FSS financial support will be made on a case by case basis. Local Authorities can obtain more information by contacting foodcrime@fss.scot.

More on this topic

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Related

Food incidents

A food incident occurs when there are concerns about threats to the safety or quality of food and/or feed.

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