Scotland Launches Food Fraud Hotline to Ward Off Criminals

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24/7 hotline allows consumers and food industry professionals to anonymously report suspicious activity
Food Standards Scotland

Food Standards Scotland

Geoff Ogle, chief executive of Food Standards Scotland, admitted food fraud might increase if the U.K. leaves the EU.

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has just launched a 24/7 food fraud hotline “to help regulators and police tackle criminal activity in the supply chain, as well as protect the food sector’s reputation abroad,” Food Navigator reported.

The service will also aid the FSS’ Scottish Food Crime and Incident Unit, which was established following a scandal in 2013 when horse meat was being sold as beef in frozen foods, according to BBC. There have also been incidences of fish and chips that use whiting instead of haddock, and takeout lamb dishes that don’t contain actual lamb.

Consumers and industry professionals alike will be able to anonymously report any suspicious activity. FSS chief executive Geoff Ogle said this information would be “invaluable.”

“We’re at the stage now where we can be much more directed by the intelligence we receive,” Ogle said. “The difficulty will be getting the intelligence.”

The establishment of the hotline is especially key in light of Brexit concerns, the effects of which are still unclear.

Ogle admitted food fraud might increase if the U.K. leaves the EU. “If food prices do rise, then there is more motivation to increase criminal activity because there are greater margins of profit to be made,” Ogle said.

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