Department of Health written question – answered on 4th January 2016.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action the National Food Crime Unit is taking to protect consumers from counterfeit alcoholic drinks.
During November, the National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) jointly headed Operation OPSON, which encourages participating countries to observe a period of particular focus on fake and illicit food and drink. A day of action against counterfeit vodka took place on 11 November. Intelligence gathered from seizures will be fed into the NFCU and results sent onwards to Europol for analysis. Alongside this, the NFCU will conduct its own assessment in order to inform the overall understanding of the threat. This assessment will be published after the official publication of the OPSON results by Europol/Interpol.
The NFCU has also worked with partners (including HM Revenue & Customs, the Intellectual Property Office, UK Border Force, the National Trading Standards Intelligence Hub and Food Standards Scotland) to form a counterfeit alcohol working group. This group is working to improve the United Kingdom’s strategic understanding of the threats from counterfeit and substandard alcohol.
In support of the Food Standards Agency’s wine inspectorate, the NFCU is coordinating enquiries with the Government Agency Intelligence Network and with the European Food Fraud Network in relation to wine fraud. The NFCU has also developed an intelligence bulletin to be shared with local trading standards and other agencies nationwide in order to raise awareness of this form of crime and increase reporting.
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