> ‘Food Crime Confidential’ Comes to the UK - The Food Safety Company ‘Food Crime Confidential’ Comes to the UK - The Food Safety Company
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    Wednesday, 30 November 2016

    ‘Food Crime Confidential’ Comes to the UK

    A confidential channel over which to report food crimes within the industry has not yet been seen in the UK. That oversight was recently amended by the UK’s Food Standards Agency’s (FSA’s) National Food Crime Unit. “Food Crime Confidential” is their newest project – a reporting facility fielding confidential phone and email tips. The service, launched 28 November, encourages anyone harbouring suspicions about a food crime or instances of flouted food safety measures to share their concerns. Enacting this new service is a step towards bettering the food industry.

    The National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) in charge of the project “works with partners to protect consumers from serious criminal activity impacting the safety or authenticity of food and drink they consume.” In their terms, food crime is anything that meddles with the integrity of food at any stage in production, and includes food and drink as well as animal feed. According to the NFCU, food crimes are often complex. Adulteration may be financially motivated; the likeliest culprits will be those within the sphere of operations. Food Crime Confidential is targeted towards those working closely within the food industry, having firsthand experiences with “methods used in workplaces for producing, processing, storing, labeling or transporting food that appears illegal or substandard,” or who witness products said to be of “a certain quality, suggest health benefits or claim to be from a specific place or region, but do not appear genuine or are suspected to be fake.”

    Andy Morling, Head of Food Crime at the FSA, said, “The National Food Crime Unit is committed to putting consumers first in everything we do. That is why we are launching Food Crime Confidential today to ensure that those with information about food crime can report it in confidence. The facility is open to anyone who has information about food which is being dishonestly produced, manufactured or sold.”

    Before Food Crime Confidential, food industry employees had no choice but to allow disingenuous claims and ill-assembled food items to pass before them, lest they invoke the wrath of their employer. What more if those same employers learned of a traitor within their midst? Those reporting need not fear identification. Morling assures informers that they will not be put in the spotlight: “We recognise that picking up the phone to pass on suspicions about an employer or an associate can be a big deal. That’s why we’ll ensure the information provided will be handled sensitively and professionally.” NFCU is interested solely in the actual tampering. In fielding tips, the unit hopes to stop food crime before it affects the larger population and aims to alter the circumstances that make such acts possible.

    To report a suspected food crime contact the Food Crime Confidential hotline at 0207 276 8787 or email foodcrime@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

    Jacqui Litvan

    Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver).
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