FSA lacks resources to take on national food fraud policing role

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Fsa chief executive Crime

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) lacks the resources to take on a national policing role for food fraud within a new food crime unit, as recommended by Professor Chris Elliot in his interim report following last year’s horsemeat scandal.

That was the view of FSA chief executive Catherine Brown, who reflected the concerns of the Agency’s board in this video interview with Food Manufacture.co.uk.

Watch this video to see Brown explain why the FSA is not best equipped to tackle the wider aspects of solving criminal activity that are often associated with food fraud.

‘Key issues’

“We think Professor Elliott’s review is a good piece of work and we think he pulls out the really big, key issues that everybody should be focusing on and we are very pleased with the emphasis he places on everybody in the chain taking their responsibility,”​ said Brown.

“In terms of the food crime intelligence unit we are keen to do the thing he correctly identifies needs to be done, which is to provide a central place where intelligence can be brought together; leads can be identified and support can be given as well.

However, Brown qualified her support when she added: “It would seem extraordinarily unlikely that we would be going to build a thing which actually carries out the entire enforcement process in that context nationwide.

‘Don’t have the resources’

“We don’t have the resources to take away responsibility from the police and replicate or set-up a duplicate system which is separate from the police and I am far from convinced that that would be the most effective way of dealing with this. Many of these criminals are not only perpetrating food crime, they are running criminal activities in a number of spaces.

Brown went on to explain what more she expected from the food industry in terms of closer co-operation and intelligence sharing to support the FSA’s activities in reducing incidents of food safety and food fraud. She also explained how the FSA was supporting the industry in areas such as reducing the burden of regulation within the EU and assisting with food exports to countries outside the EU.

See the June 2014 of Food Manufacture​ magazine for a full interview with Catherine Brown.

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