Food crime

How we define food crime and how to report it.
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Defining food crime

Food crime involves serious and intentional dishonesty that impacts detrimentally on the safety or authenticity of food, drink or animal feed.

At the National Food Crime Unit, we have identified seven techniques as the main methods through which food crime can be committed. 

The seven techniques are:

  • theft - dishonestly appropriating food, drink or feed products in order to profit from their use or sale
  • unlawful processing - slaughtering or preparing meat and related products in unapproved premises or using unauthorised techniques
  • waste diversion - unlawfully diverting food, drink or feed meant for disposal, back into the supply chain
  • adulteration - reducing the quality of food by including a foreign substance, in order 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 - includes the making, use and possession of false documents with the intent to sell, market or otherwise vouch for a fraudulent or substandard product

Report a food crime in confidence

Food Crime Confidential is a reporting facility where anyone with suspicions about food crime can report it safely and in confidence, over the phone or online. This means that your details will not be shared with anyone else.

Whilst still of concern, instances where there is no direct intention to deceive or deliberate dishonesty do not constitute food crime and should not be reported to the NFCU. These should be reported here to the relevant local authority. 

If you send information about a wrongdoing or criminal activity to the NFCU, you can be reassured that your personal information will be protected. It will not be shared with any other part of our Agency or any other partner. The only time your information will be shared is if you give us your permission as requested at the end of the form.

Report a food crime

Please use the links above to share information with us. However, you can also contact the Unit by calling Food Crime Confidential on 0207 276 8787.