Foodex 2016

Food and drink crime: what tops experts’ wish list

This content item was originally published on, a William Reed online publication.

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Leatherhead food research

Persuading people to share information about suspected food and drink crime, co-ordinating intelligence sharing and harnessing technology to beat criminal activity topped the wish lists of experts taking part in Food Manufacture’s Big Video Debate on food fraud at Foodex.

Here, we capture some of the highlights of the debate dedicated to combating food and drink fraud. Taking part were: Andy Morling, head of the Food Standards Agency’s Food Crime Unit, Professor Tony Hines, director of global regulatory services and crisis management, Leatherhead Food Research and Professor Lisa Jack, head of the Food Fraud Group at the University of Portsmouth.

Asked about his crime-fighting priorities, Morling replied: “I’ve a list as long as my arm of the things I’d like to do in the next year.”

‘Report criminality directly to us’

Topping that list was encouraging the industry to share information more freely. “I’d like to tap into those people in the industry … to report criminality directly to us,” ​he said.

“There are 4M people employed in the UK food industry and I think many of those will know stuff I’d like to know about – fraud and other problems with crime.”

The Leatherhead Food Research crime specialist also highlighted the need for more effective information sharing.

“There is an enormous amount of information that people at ports and airports have shared with me,”​ said Hines.

‘They don’t know the value of what they know’

“They know so much but they don’t know the value of what they know because they don’t know what to do with the information.”

Hines also wanted to see technology advances that would allow consumers to check the contents of food and drink packages from mobile devices.

Accounting specialist Jack said the industry was at last beginning to ask more informed questions about food and drink fraud – a problem that cost the industry up to 5.4% of corporate turnover.

Business leaders should join together to educate people in the industry “to become more resilient to fraud”,​ she said.

The Big Video Debate on food and drink crime​ took place at Foodex on Monday, April 18. Don't miss our exclusive video interview​ with the food crime fighting boss, in which he looks back over his first year in the job.

Other Big Video Debates​ taking place at Foodex focused the battle to control Britain’s number one cause of food poisoning​, campylobacter, and the role of apprenticeships​.

Foodex took place at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham between April 18 and 19. 

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