Food Crime Unit targets company ID theft as Tulip warns of fraud

By Alice Foster contact

- Last updated on GMT

A warning about fraudulent communications on the website of Tulip Ltd
A warning about fraudulent communications on the website of Tulip Ltd

Related tags: Food standards agency, Fraud

Food and drink manufacturers have been warned to beware company identity theft, as a leading meat processing firm continues to complain of being targeted by fraudsters.

Food Standards Agency (FSA) head of consumer protection Will Creswell said its Food Crime Unit was working on company identity theft by cooperating with police and other agencies to pursue fraudsters.

“That’s where fraudulent companies pose as another company and they order goods – mainly meat and fish that we are looking at the moment,”​ Creswell told FoodManufacture.co.uk.

‘No product arrives’

FSA warning

"Money gets transferred and no product arrives.”

  • Will Creswell, head of consumer protection at Food Standards Agency (FSA) 

“They arrange a delivery and clearly the delivery does not get to the place that it was supposed to be going to because someone has stolen their identity. Money gets transferred and no product arrives.”

There have been several arrests in connection with company identity theft in the food sector in the last year, according to a FSA board paper published last week.  

The Food Crime Unit, which has also helped to investigate wine fraud, was created following Professor Chris Elliott’s review into the food chain security in light of the horsemeat scandal.

Creswell said its teams were developing intelligence packages that will be shared with other agencies, although the unit will probably not bring its own prosecutions at this stage.

'Nature of food crime in UK'

Food Crime Unit issues

  • Deadly slimming drug DNP
  • Sub-standard wine
  • Fake vodka
  • Adulteration of wheat flour with soya
  • Peanut and almond contamination in cumin and paprika 

“Phase one was all about building the picture of evidence of the scale and nature of food crime in the UK,”​ Creswell said.

As part of phase two in a year’s time, there will be a decision about whether the unit develops an investigative capability to take forward its own prosecutions.

Meanwhile, pork producer Tulip’s website warned that the public and suppliers had been targeted by fraudsters making misleading communications.

A Tulip spokesman said the notice was posted on its website after an “incident concerning suspicious activity” ​with one of its suppliers in November 2014.

“This was a one-off and there hasn’t been any reoccurrence since the original issue, it would however be inappropriate for Tulip to comment further on this or on the wider issue of company identity theft,”​ he said. 

Asked why the notice has not been removed from the website yet, another spokesman said: “It’s a bit of housekeeping we need to do.”

Notice on website of Tulip Ltd

This is an important notice regarding fraudulent communications that have been made to members of the public and suppliers which are purported to be on behalf of Tulip Ltd. They do not originate from Tulip Ltd.

If you receive communication from any other source or a request for a delivery to a different address or are in any doubt as to the veracity of the request please ask for our purchasing Audit Department on +44(0)1926 475680.

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