Food fraud

There are three main types of food fraud:

The sale of food that is unfit and potentially harmful

This can be 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 that isn’t what it claims to be

Some products are substituted for cheaper alternatives, such as farmed salmon being sold as wild salmon. Or statements about the ingredients may be false (e.g. saying where they come from or whether they’re derived from plants or animals).

Stolen and/or illegally slaughtered meat

This can cover any type of meat, including poaching of wild game animals like deer.

Report food fraud

Reporting food fraud can help protect the health of others, so we appreciate any help you can offer – whether you’re a customer, part of a local authority or you work in the food industry yourself.

If you work in a food business and want to report food fraud

If you believe the business you work in could be putting the public at risk with food fraud, you can contact us in confidence by emailing

We can protect you from detrimental treatment or victimisation from your employer under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1998.

Reporting food fraud as a customer

If you’re suspicious about food on sale – unusually cheap meat, for example – you can let us know, and we’ll contact your local authority. We’ll also investigate the problem ourselves. Your report will be treated in the strictest confidence – just email us at

Local authorities

If you suspect food fraud, or a member of the public has reported food fraud to you, you can let us know by emailing us at

The National Food Fraud Database Intelligence Report form and guide can be downloaded here.

Food fraud database

The national food fraud database is an important resource for detecting emerging patterns of fraudulent activity, and for local authorities seeking information to assist with their investigations into food fraud incidents. Intelligence is received from a variety of sources, including local authorities, consumers, industry, government departments and other enforcement bodies.

Management of the database and the storage and handling of intelligence is operated in line with the National Intelligence Model

Submit intelligence to the Food Fraud Database

Local authorities are encouraged to add information to the Food Fraud database.

Request information from the Food Fraud Database

If you’re part of a local authority conducting a food fraud investigation, you can request any relevant information to assist you from the Food Fraud Database. Just email

Food fraud assistance

Local authorities can apply for financial support from the FSS for their enforcement work through FSS Food Fraud Fund, where there are unexpected resource implications. Decisions on the nature and extent of FSS financial support will be made on a case by case basis.  If you would like more details or information on applying then please e-mail

Related Publications/Resources