Saturday, December 14, 2019
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UK To Tighten Noose Around Food Fraud Crimes

UK To Tighten Noose Around Food Fraud Crimes

Businesses committing food fraud for lowering costs or boosting supplies can soon be charged with criminal prosecutions. The new chief of the National Crime Unit of Food, Darren Davis, is aiming at criminally prosecuting firms fraudulently using cheaper substitutes.

Sadly, food fraud almost never makes headlines. The last time it was a major issue was back in 2013 during the horsemeat scandal. Products like coffee and olive oil also affected by substitution. Right now, very few companies face legal prosecution each year.

Typically, fraudulent vendors mislabel low-grade products and sell them off as premium like horse meat in place of beef or resort to padding out pure product with cheaper alternatives. As per a list published by a committee of the EU on Public Health, Safety and Environment, coffee, honey, grains, fish, wine, tea, spices meat, milk and some fruit juices are subjected to fraud the most.

Another very common substitution includes the replacement of costly organic food by cheaper ingredients that are non-organic. The National Unit for Food Crime is the unit of criminal investigation for the FSA or the Agency for Food Standards.

Speaking at a program on BBC, Darren Davis stressed that this is a form of crime. They intend to work with officials from different agencies of law enforcement as well as local authorities to initially raid premises of business as well as other locations where serious food crimes are being committed. Further, Davis said that they will be more concerned if this fraud or food adulteration causes physical harm and poses harmful risks to individuals, especially vulnerable people having allergies.

Sian Edmunds, who partners at the law firm called Burges-Salmon, is a specialist in drink and food regulation. In a conversation with the BBC, he agreed that there are some very potent safety issues related to food. He also elaborated on a recent case he encountered where pesto was manufactured from peanuts instead of the staple pine-nuts, thus causing severe allergies in many.

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