Food Crime

Food crime can involve selling food or drink that has been tampered with, or using cheaper ingredients than the ones listed on the label.

What is food crime?

Food crime can involve selling counterfeit products such as fake alcohol, falsely using the identity of an established business to sell food and drink, and the deliberate mis-labelling the product's country of origin. An example of this is a claim that a product was made in Scotland when it was produced or grown elsewhere. Animal welfare is carefully regulated in Scotland – some food crime involves slaughtering animals in conditions which don’t meet our strict hygiene and welfare standards, or poaching wild animals and selling them on for consumption.

Reporting food crime

If you think there’s a problem with food you’ve been offered, or if you work within the food and drink sector and want to report a concern, you can either:

Any information you give will be treated in confidence and you won’t have to give your name if you don’t want to.

The Hotline and webform are both hosted by Crimestoppers, a widely respected and independent charitable organisation which for many years has 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 on going 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.

If you think you’ve bought or eaten food or drink that breaks the law, or if you work in the food and drink industry and think there’s a problem, you can report it anonymously.

Food fraud

There are three main types of food fraud:

Food that could harm us

This includes food that’s sold after it’s use-by date or meat that hasn’t been slaughtered in hygienic conditions.

Food that isn’t what it claims to be

This could involve substituting cheap ingredients for more expensive ones – for example, saying a product contains wild salmon when it actually contains farmed salmon. Or it could involve making false claims, such as saying a product is vegetarian when it contains meat products

Stolen or illegally slaughtered food

In Scotland, livestock is slaughtered under carefully controlled and monitored conditions. It’s illegal to poach wild animals like deer and then sell them on.

As mentioned previously, if you think you’ve bought or eaten food or drink that breaks the law, or if you work in the food and drink industry and think there’s a problem, you can report it anonymously.

More on this topic

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Food Crime

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

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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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