Food law and enforcement

Food crime

Guide

Food crime involves serious and intentional dishonesty that impacts detrimentally on the safety or authenticity of food, drink or animal feed.

Types of food crimes

The most common ways of committing food crime include: 

  • theft - stealing food, drink or feed products to sell or use
  • unlawful processing - slaughtering or preparing meat and related products in unapproved premises or using unauthorised techniques
  • waste diversion - unlawfully diverting food, drink or feed meant for disposal, back into the supply chain
  • adulteration -  bulking up a food product with another substance to lower costs or fake a higher quality
  • substitution - replacing a food or ingredient with a similar, inferior substance 
  • misrepresentation - marketing or labelling a product to wrongly portray its quality, safety, origin or freshness
  • document fraud - includes the making, use and possession of false documents with the intent to sell, market or otherwise vouch for a fraudulent or substandard product

How to report a food crime

The Food Standards Agency offers a confidential food crime reporting service - Food Crime Confidential. If you suspect a food crime has occurred, you can report it online or over the phone to the National Food Crime Unit and your details will not be shared with anyone.

Report a food crime: 

  • report suspected dishonesty or food crime within the production or supply of food
  • report suspected dishonest activity in a food business
  • call the Food Crime Confidential on Tel: 0207 276 8787

Instances where there is no deliberate dishonesty or intention to deceive should instead be reported to the relevant local authority.