Councillor for Brackley area urges people to look out for illegally sold food and drink
Food crime, where food and drink are illegally sold, is often unsafe, and can range from isolated acts of dishonesty by an individual to organised illegal activities planned by criminal networks, and is estimated to cost £1.17 billion a year in the UK.
Cllr. David Smith, the cabinet member for community safety engagement and regulatory services at West Northamptonshire Council, has warned the public that the most common types of food crime are:
theft - dishonestly obtaining food, drink, or feed products to profit from their use or sale
illegal processing - slaughtering or preparing meat and related products in unapproved premises or using unauthorised techniques
waste diversion - illegally diverting food, drink or feed meant for disposal, back into the supply chain
adulteration - including a foreign substance that is not on the product’s label to lower costs or fake a higher quality
substitution - replacing a food or ingredient with another substance that is similar but inferior
misrepresentation - marketing or labelling a product to wrongly portray its quality, safety, origin or freshness
fraud - making, using or possessing false documents with the intent to sell or market a fraudulent or substandard product
Cllr. Smith said: "Consumers of food and drink products should have confidence that their food is safe and what it says it is.
"However, unfortunately, there are individuals and businesses who continue to exploit consumers by illegally selling and distributing counterfeit items which can be seriously harmful to consumers, food businesses and the wider food industry.
"We would urge anyone who is made aware of potential food crime or suspects illegal activity to report this our teams or the food standards agency. Together, we can help to stamp out food crime."
People have been warned to look out for food or drink that is significantly cheaper than expected, shops that could be extending durability dates or using poorer quality products, and food being delivered to shops or food businesses in non-business vehicles.
If you have concerns about food crime in the Brackley area please contact West Northamptonshire Council Environmental Health Team: [email protected]