FSA to set up dedicated food crime unit
The government has announced plans to establish a special unit to tackle crime in the food industry.
The move follows recommendations put forward by Professor Chris Elliott in his food integrity and assurance of food supply networks report published today that was undertaken in the wake of last year’s horsemeat scandal.
The Food Standards Agency has already initiated the setting up of the unit which will be operational by the end of 2014.
In its response to the Elliott report the government said: “We are committed to delivering the first stage of the unit with a review of progress and likely future need after two years.
“During the first phase the unit will focus on building the intelligence and evidence picture of the risks and the nature of food fraud and food crime in the UK. FSA has already started to develop its analytical and intelligence capability by recruiting and seconding the relevant expertise.“
The unit will be supported by a range of partners including law enforcement agencies, the National Fraud Investigation Bureau and the National Trading Standards Board.
The government added: “By working with these partners it will access intelligence networks shared by law enforcement agencies at a national, regional and local level, as well as internationally by building on links established with food fraud agencies across the EU and internationally.”
The work of the Food Crime Unit will be overseen by a board made up of government departments and relevant criminal enforcement agencies, with an escalation route to Ministers.
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