Industry pledges support to food crime unit

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Ron McNaughton: ‘We rely on working with partners, and intelligence we get from industry is vital in helping us bring criminals to justice’
Ron McNaughton: ‘We rely on working with partners, and intelligence we get from industry is vital in helping us bring criminals to justice’

Related tags: Regulation

Members of the food and drink industry have pledged their support to Food Standard Scotland’s (FSS’) crime unit.

The Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit (SFCIU) is collaborating with 17 organisations across the food and drink sector, including Seafood Scotland, Scotland Food & Drink, Quality Meat Scotland, Crimestoppers and Safe and Local Supplier Approval (SALSA).

The collaboration will work to raise awareness of food crime and how to report it, supported by a free confidential Scottish Food Crime Hotline, run in partnership with Crimestoppers.

SFCIU head Ron McNaughton said the unit was vital to uphold Scotland’s “well-deserved​” reputation of high-quality, safe food.

‘Working with partners’

“We’re delighted to have support from key organisations, which encourages food crime reporting as well as setting a standard for others,”​ said McNaughton. “We rely on working with partners, and intelligence we get from industry is vital in helping us bring criminals to justice.”

Professor Chris Elliot, director of the Institute for Global Food Safety at Queen’s University Belfast, who recently worked with FSS on the topic of tackling food crime, said the issue could only be solved through industry collaboration.

“With complex supply chains and so many elements involved in bringing food to consumers, it is vital we work with industry and provide as much support for producers and suppliers as possible,”​ he added.

‘Setting a gold standard’

“The SFCIU’s collaboration with industry harnesses an information-sharing approach in Scotland and across the globe, setting a gold standard in the fight against rogue operators.”

If you have any knowledge of or suspicions about food crime, you can contact the Scottish Food Crime Hotline on 0800 028 7926, or via a secure online form.

Meanwhile, in October, the Food Standards Agency played down the significance of a rise in reported food crimes​ after a Freedom of Information request revealed levels were at their highest since 2013 – the year of the horsemeat scandal.

SFCIU collaborators

  • Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA)
  • Scotland Food & Drink
  • Crimestoppers
  • Lantra
  • Scottish Bakers
  • Quality Meat Scotland
  • Seafood Scotland
  • The Seasoning and Spice Association
  • Associated Seafoods
  • Scarletts Scotland
  • Tea Gardens of Scotland
  • Scottish Tea Factory
  • Soil Association
  • Scottish Land and Estates
  • Highlands & Islands Enterprise
  • Scottish Rural Development Programmes
  • SALSA

Related topics: Legal

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