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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

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

Suspected food crime committed in Scotland should be reported to Food Standards Scotland.