Foodex Big Video Debate

Food Crime Unit boss aims to win food firms’ trust

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food crime unit, Food standards agency, Codex alimentarius

Winning food and drink manufacturers’ trust, as a first step to persuading them to share information to help combat crime, is the top priority of the head of Food Standards Agency’s (FSA’s) Food Crime Unit Andy Morling.

“It’s clear we have got to tell them ​[food and drink manufacturers] what information we want and how we are going to use that information,”​ Morling told FoodManufacture.co.uk in this exclusive video – filmed after Food Manufacture’s Big Video Debate on food fraud at Foodex.

Re-assuring manufacturers

Re-assuring manufacturers that the information they provided would not “leak out or get into the wrong hands”,​ was criticially important he said.

Morling also prioritised persuading individual whistle-blowers to share their suspicions about food and drink crime.

After just over a year in the job, Morling said establishing a track record of trust with manufacturers and individuals would be a key means of combating food and drink crime.

Building a strong partnership with industry was critical to success and there was “no silver bullet”​ to beat criminal activity, he added.

The highlights of his first year in office were guiding the growth of the Food Crime Unit and arresting an individual in connection with sale of fatal food supplements. See more details in the box below.

Protecting your supply chains

The Big Video Debate – Food and drink fraud: protecting your supply chains – took place on Monday April 18.

Joining the food crime boss on the discussion panel were Professor Lisa Jack, head of the Food Fraud Group at the University of Portsmouth, and Professor Tony Hines, director of global regulatory services and crisis management, Leatherhead Food Research.

Watch out for video highlights of this Big Video Debate​ – alongside two others on campylobacter and apprenticeships – on FoodManufacture.co.uk in the near future.

The Foodex trade event took place at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham between Monday April 18 and Wednesday April 20.

Meanwhile, both Morling and Jack will be speaking at the Food Manufacture Group’s Food safety conference 2016 – Boosting consumer confidence in times of change – at etc.venues, Prospero House, 241 Borough High St, Southwark, London on Thursday October 13 2016.

Highlights of Andy Morling’s first year at the Food Crime Unit

  • “Watching the Food Crime Unit grow to its full operating model.” 
  • “Some of the operational success stories, such as the arrest of an individual for selling a food supplement that was very injurious to health. A large quantity of material that kills people was removed from the market. Food crime does not get any more serious than that.” 

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