Reporting food fraud

What to do if you suspect or know food fraud is taking place.

What is food fraud?

Food fraud is committed when food is deliberately placed on the market, for financial gain, with the intention of deceiving the consumer. Although there are many kinds of food fraud the two main types are:

  • the sale of food which is unfit and potentially harmful, such as:
    • recycling of animal by-products back into the food chain
    • packing and selling of beef and poultry with an unknown origin
    • knowingly selling goods which are past their 'use by' date
  • the deliberate misdescription of food, such as:
    • products substituted with a cheaper alternative, for example, farmed salmon sold as wild, and Basmati rice adulterated with cheaper varieties
    • making false statements about the source of ingredients, i.e. their geographic, plant or animal origin

Food fraud may also involve the sale of meat from animals that have been stolen and/or illegally slaughtered, as well as wild game animals like deer that may have been poached.

Members of the public

If you have any suspicious about food being offered for sale, for example, if meat or alcohol being sold is unusually cheap and you have concerns about where it has come from, please tell both your local authority and our National Food Crime Unit. We can then investigate.

You can use our online search facility to find the local authority food law enforcement officer.

Please send details to the National Food Crime Unit by emailing

All reports are treated in the strictest confidence.

Food businesses – whistleblowing

If you work in the food industry and you are blowing the whistle in the public interest on wrongdoing where you work, please

Email the National Food Crime Unit:

Local authorities

If you have any suspicions or information about food fraud, it is important to forward this to the National Food Crime Unit by completing a standard intelligence report form, via the Food Fraud Database at the link below.

Completed forms should be submitted to the

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