Chief executive of FSA responds to food fraud revelations
Emily Miles, the chief executive of the Food Standards Agency has responded to allegations that a UK food manufacturer has been passing off large quantities of foreign pork as British – sometimes in excess of tens of thousands of tonnes a week.
Following initial revelations by Farmers Weekly and coverage by Meat Management she said: “We are continuing our criminal investigation into how a meat supplier allegedly provided products labelled as British when they were in fact sourced from other countries.
“This is a live investigation which means we are looking into all new lines of inquiry with the relevant local authorities, including investigating potential food hygiene breaches. This is alongside the work we are doing to investigate food fraud. Based on the investigation to date, there is no indication that food is unsafe or there is an increased risk to consumers.”
She continued: “Criminal investigations take time and need to be done with due process and fairness. The FSA will work tirelessly on behalf of consumers to ensure that this criminal investigation is done to the highest possible standards.
“I do want to emphasise at a time when cost pressures and other challenges mean the risks of food fraud might be increasing, it is vital everyone involved in the food chain works to ensure that food is safe and what it says it is.”
Meat Management understands that the initial retailer was notified at the same time that the NFCU first acted against the food business suspected of the fraud in September 2021. Working with partner organisations, the FSA, on 22 March 2023, made an unannounced visit to a premises linked to a live criminal investigation into alleged food fraud. Three people were arrested and have now been released under investigation.
The FSA has said it will not provide further details at this time as this could impact the criminal investigation or any future proceedings. The agency has added that if anyone has any concerns or information relating to fraud or criminality in food supply chains, they can raise these by contacting Food Crime Confidential on 0207 276 8787 or by reporting it online via https://www.food.gov.uk/contactbusinessesreport-safety-concern/report-a-food-crime