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Food crime

What is the impact of crime, including food fraud, on the UK food supply chain, and how can we reduce it? 

The food, drink and catering sector are significant contributors to the UK economy. Understanding the drivers and impacts of food is crucial for the FSA if it is to fulfil it’s statutory duty to protect public health from risks which may arise in connection with the production, supply and consumption of food, while creating an environment that allows legitimate businesses to thrive.  

This Area of Research Interest (ARI) has a focus on the UK economy and society with the following aims:  

  • Ensuring the FSA is alert to the risks to consumers associated with food authenticity, food fraud and food crime, in which consumers are deliberately misled. 
  • Increasing understanding of the impact food crime, including food fraud to the UK economy and society and how it could be better detected and monitored.  
  • Assessing the impact on the consumer that extends beyond the financial loss that comes from the purchase of a substandard product, such as negative health outcomes, and any associated costs which is necessarily borne by the public. 
  • Creating reliable robust evidence and an updateable methodology to evaluate the burden of food crime to businesses, consumers, government and the wider economy. 

The work of this ARI ensures the FSA continues to build a solid evidence base and remain at the cutting edge of research in appraising and evaluating food safety risks, while allowing the FSA to more effectively allocate resources; contributing to future policy interventions and to pre-empt potential threats.  


Research projects related to the programme

What works to prevent food fraud

This study was undertaken to guide the FSA and the National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) on the development of future strategies and operational activities to improve food fraud prevention.

Food crime intelligence reporting: barriers and enablers

This project provides a literature review, stakeholder interviews, and behavioural intervention design in order to guide the development of future interventions and governance arrangements to increase the volume and improve the quality of food crime intelligence reported to the NFCU.

The Cost of Food Crime

This project develops a conceptual framework for modelling and capturing the full range of costs attributed to food crime on UK society, along with an assessment of the availability of data that would be necessary to produce this model.