Food: Organised Crime

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 19 December 2023.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness Hayman of Ullock Baroness Hayman of Ullock Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the level of organised crime relating to food and drink, and what plans they have to facilitate information sharing among relevant public authorities and industry stakeholders.

Photo of Lord Markham Lord Markham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has a dedicated National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) to prevent, detect and investigate food crime. The NFCU plays a key role in the prevention of food crime by monitoring current and future threats. The unit can also lead and support partners in conducting investigations to enable the prosecution of food criminals. The FSA’s understanding of the nature and levels of food crime within the food and drink sector is set out within their Food Crime Strategic Assessment. The publication of an updated Food Crime Strategic Assessment, compiled in partnership with Food Standards Scotland, is planned for spring 2024.

The FSA has a strong partnership with industry to detect food fraud risks and vulnerabilities. One such partnership is with the Food Industry Intelligence Network who the FSA liaises closely with on sampling data and potential authenticity issue signals. The FSA works closely with local authorities, who enforce food hygiene and safety standards across much of the food sector. The FSA has regular communication through their networks where intelligence is shared on issues that would fall under their remit for enforcement. The FSA also has well established links with other enforcement agencies and the police to share and discuss relevant intelligence around serious criminality in the food sector and to explore crossovers with other offending so that an effective and collaborative response can be applied to such issues.

Earlier this year, the FSA established a working group with industry, focusing on food fraud. The working group agreed improvements to the format, content, timeliness, and distribution of intelligence-based alerts, issued by the NFCU to industry networks to allow them to better protect themselves against the threat. All members agreed to promote or otherwise support a new freephone confidential food fraud hotline operated by the FSA. The working group also agreed to the provision of more information to the FSA from voluntary Third-Party Assurance schemes. Sharing arrangements around information exchange with Third-Party Assurance schemes are being explored.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes0 people think so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.