The National Food Crime Unit works to prevent, detect and investigate food crime. Food crime is serious fraud that impacts the safety or the authenticity of food, drink or animal feed.
Poor hygiene practices in a food business are not considered to be food crime. Poor food safety or hygiene practices should be reported to your local authority.
Issues relating to the direct sale of food to consumers, such as missing or incomplete orders, are not considered to be food crime. These incidents should be discussed directly with the food business.
Reported food crimes are confidential and can be submitted anonymously. Your details will be not disclosed without your permission, or an order of a competent court.
The main 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 which 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
- document fraud - making, using or possessing false documents with the intent to sell or market a fraudulent or substandard product
If your report relates to any of the issues listed in the following table, we ask that you please refer to the agencies listed in the table for advice.
The FSA are the prescribed persons to report matters of wrongdoing within the food industry.
Whistleblowers are protected by law when reporting the following:
- a criminal offence, for example fraud
- someone’s health and safety is in danger
- risk of or actual damage to the environment
- a miscarriage of justice
- a company is breaking the law
- you believe someone is covering up wrongdoing
Reporting a food crime
If you are a whistleblower or wish to report a food crime, please click on the start button on this page and complete the webform. Alternatively, contact the National Food Crime Unit confidential hotline on 0800 028 1180. For non- UK mobiles or calls from overseas please use 0207 276 8787.
Your details will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed to any third party.
The hours between which the confidential hot line will be answered are 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Outside of these hours, please use the online service on this page to submit your report.
Suspected food crime committed in Scotland should be reported to Food Standards Scotland.