The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published the first Food Crime Annual Strategic Assessment (FCASA), examining the scale and nature of the food crime threat to the £200 billion British food and drink industry.
The assessment was carried out by the FSA’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) – set up last year in the wake of the 2013 horsemeat in beef adulteration scandal – and was designed to establish a baseline understanding of the food crime threat to industry and consumers. It highlights themes and trends in food crime intelligence, helps to prioritise the highest risk issues and also identifies gaps in the understanding of food crime.
A wide range of vulnerabilities and risks were identified across the food industry, but the assessment found little evidence that organised crime groups have yet made substantial inroads into UK food supply chains. However, the large size of the food and drink sector and the relatively low chance of food fraud detection suggest a significant risk to consumers and businesses.
NFCU Head Andy Morling commented, “This assessment confirms that while the UK continues to have some of the safest and most authentic food in the world, we must remain vigilant to keep it that way.”
The full FCASA report can be accessed online as a PDF here.