/ Food & Drink, Health

Will a new hotline crack down on food fraud?

Junk food cartons with skull and crossbones, symbolising food fraud

Food Standards Scotland has teamed up with charity Crimestoppers to launch a food fraud hotline for Scotland. So can this hotline crack down on this crime?

The main types of food fraud are:

  • Food that is unfit or harmful (the kind that makes you unwell)
  • Food that is not authentic (mislabelled or missold), or
  • Food that is stolen and/or illegally slaughtered (like meat or wild game)

In 2014, as part of our Stop Food Fraud campaign, we bought 45 portions of fish labelled as haddock or cod from fish and chip shops in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. We tested the fish DNA to find out what was really in it. We found two portions in Manchester that were being sold as cod were, in fact, haddock. In Glasgow, five sold as haddock were actually whiting. Whiting easily passes for cod or haddock and is a cheaper fish, often used in fish meal and pet food. But that doesn’t make it right.

Also in 2014, we undertook exclusive DNA testing on lamb takeaways. What we found shocked us. Of the 60 meals we tested, 24 had meat other than lamb in them, and seven had no lamb at all! Our results are not isolated cases. Trading Standards and Environmental Health Officers in Falkirk, Leicester, Warwickshire and West Yorkshire have found similar levels of fraud in lamb takeaways.

Will better reporting lead to safer food?

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) was set up in the aftermath of the horsemeat scandal (and our campaign about it) to ensure the food we eat is safe and authentic. That incident – and current worries about Campylobacter in chicken – have thrown a spotlight on food fraud. All the companies involved in getting food to our tables are vulnerable to this crime, so this news is welcome.

However, not all companies supplying food to Scotland are based in Scotland. So it is crucial that Scottish agencies (such as FSS and Police Scotland) work with other similar UK and EU agencies to make the most of the intelligence they get in Scotland. Only then will we be able to tackle food crime no matter where the food has come from or where it is sold.

What will the new hotline do?

In September 2015, a new Scottish Food Crime Incident Unit was created to tackle food fraud. To do this it will keep a look out for dishonest food suppliers. The new hotline will be the first port of call for people who have tip-offs, so that the Unit can tackle any crimes head-on.

The hotline will be solely for people who want to raise the alarm anonymously to FSS. As well as being available to the public, this will be a much needed tool for whistleblowers working in the food and drink industry.

So if you happen to know about a food crime in Scotland, or you’ve seen something that looks dodgy, then the hotline number is: 0800 028 7926. It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This isn’t the only way for people in Scotland to report food fraud, but it should be a much quicker and easier way to report it. Most importantly, it is totally confidential.

The National Food Crime Unit has also launched Food Crime Confidential, where people in the rest of the UK can report food crime over the phone (0207 276 8787) or by email (foodcrime@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk).

Why is food law enforcement important?

We rely on good law enforcement when it comes to keeping our food safe – the consequences of dodgy or fake food can range from unpleasant to dangerous.

Our Scottish research from February 2015 found that people have high expectations of food policing. Of those surveyed, 99% said they thought it’s important that local councils enforce food safety rules and 95% in the case of food labelling rules.

We need to have enough controls in place to police food law. The FSS, local councils and others must take the lead in spotting risks and making sure that their checks are enough to keep food safe.

So what do you think about food fraud? Are you worried about the safety of your food? Do you think this hotline will help cut down on the amount of food fraud in Scotland?

Comments
Member

Having traveled round many restaurants in a large city when working for BT I have come across all sorts of environmental health issues inside foreign food eateries . Imported packed food containing dubious contents , fish left outside in pails of water , snails crawling over produce in cold basement storage , grease covered kitchens –YES ! Gordon Ramsey is right . One premises raided by local health officials and an Alsatian removed from deep freeze -yes shop was closed down – owners prosecuted . Cats used as “chicken ” -a long list more . While its not BT policy to cause its business customers trouble I was so disgusted with one restaurant I reported it and told the engineering control staff , many engineers kept asking me where it was so that they wouldn’t visit it, The cod and haddock situation in the convo is down entirely to economics . It is well known that in England people eat cod first and foremost in a chip shop but in Scotland its the other way around people eat haddock and dont buy cod . As a result you can see price reductions on both products in supermarkets in relation to area of the UK . Whiting ( to me ) as an ex sporting sea fisherman , tastes rubbish , has anybody eat it plainly cooked without the 1001 sauces etc used to hide the cardboard taste ? I dont want to put anybody off but when young my mother boiled a cod as it cooked the surface was covered thickly in fish flukes /worms , while I am told they are not harmful I was nearly sick looking at it.

Member

In answer to the central question, I doubt it. People who are poisoned by a restaurant usually make some comments to someone about the matter, but I’ve long wondered why there was a such a fuss about the horse meat saga. As far as I’m aware it does no one any harm and, in fact, it could be highly beneficial for us all to consume a much wider variety of meats, if we are meat eaters, of course.

But there are two strands to this: potentially unfit or harmful food and mislabelled food. On the former, good policing is an essential strategy in the food industry, but I can’t become too concerned about the latter. Were I a meat eater I would see no reason why Horse, Dog and Cat didn’t appear on our shelves and in restaurants. So why do I doubt the hotline efficacy? Simply because it provides a very quick and easy way for people to create problems for a restaurant or store they dislike. I’ve always mistrusted ‘confidential’ hotlines: they’re routinely abused by vindictive individuals in Social Services, for instance and I could imagine the trolls of this world turning in droves to a ‘phone number providing a ‘completely confidential’ reporting facility. But that may simply be me.

Member

I think a lot of the fuss around the horse meat saga wasn’t that people were eating a different type of animal, but that as they weren’t meant for food they could have been given drugs that are harmful to humans when passed down the food chain.
In response to the main question, I’m not sure if anyone would report food poisoning, or if they would put it down to a bug.

Member

Ian, Of course you are right about meat, or any product that is unfit for human consumption needing to be properly policed and there needs to be stronger laws to convict any culprits!

I think, however, that you are totally wrong about ‘mislabelled’ food, it is contrary to the Trades Description Act and is very much ILLEGAL!

I am a meat eater and I have travelled extensively to France, and other EU countries, where it is commonplace to eat horse meat, and, let me add, I have often eaten it and there is nothing wrong in that, so long as you know! However the main difference is that the French and other Europeans, do not falsely claim that is is any other kind of meat – they declare it up front and on their menu’s!

Many shops and restaurants declare their product to be ‘free range’ , ‘organic’, ‘genuine’, ‘Scottish’, ‘Scampi’
‘Loch Fyne’, ‘sea caught’ when it’s ‘farmed’, and the list goes on….. when it’s simply not! This is out and out fraud and in many cases costs much more than the product actually being provided!

You are also wrong about hotlines, whether they are confidential or not, they are not just used by trolls or trouble makers, they are usually used by people who need support, as is evidenced by the many hotlines available, like ‘Internet Fraud’, ‘Childline’, ‘TPS’, ‘ICO’ and many more!

It is also quite obvious that the collective does better than the single voice in many things, for example, in many of the campaigns and petitions raised by ‘Which?’ and the like!

People can, and often do complain in restaurants, usually about poor meals, rather than ‘fraudulent descriptions’, which is much more difficult to prove, and needs some form of officialdom to be involved! Also many people are too frightened to take on shops / restaurants on their own!

You, of course are perfectly entitled to your opinion, but as you chose to voice it on a public platform, I feel equally entitled to disagree and dispute your statement!

Member
Roberta says:
1 September 2016

You may think that eating horse disguised as something else doesn’t hurt anyone but it has the potential to cause us great harm. Because the meat isn’t regulated the same as in the legitimate food industry then horses may be eaten within a few days of having been given powerful drugs which are potentially very dangerous to humans. We had a horse who was on steroids for a long period of time and we were warned that his body should never go into the food chain as it could be very dangerous.

Member

You make your points passionately and effectively, but I wasn’t disparaging hotlines in general – merely those that allow anonymous tips. If you re-read what I said you will see I was quite precise in that.

Member

I agree; and, again, I wasn’t for a minute suggesting that serving different food from what was being claimed was right. My point, really, was that we actually have what has become a very restricted diet. In the UK that’s largely limited to Cattle, Sheep, Pigs and intensively farmed poultry which, in some ways, can be worse for you than eating food outside of the norm. There is, in fact, growing evidence that our diets are too restricted to be healthy, now, and may actually be exacerbating our growing allergy issue.

But really that was all something of an aside in relation to my main point which was that I doubt the value of a confidential hotline .

Member
Leonard says:
2 September 2016

If I buy bovine meat I don’t want horse meat regardless if it contains unknown drugs or not.

Member
Robert says:
2 September 2016

I think most people would report food poisoning i myself have had that twice in my life time
and believe me i was very ill both happened while eating out

Member
Sheila Brown says:
2 September 2016

Quite some time ago my husband and I had food poisoning after eating hamburgers. The food shop’s answer to my complaint was to offer us another hamburger free!!!! We did not accept and warned all our friends not to eat there.

Member

Sheila- was it fast food in a take away ? I ask as its possible the hamburgers were heated in a microwave or a dual grill model . What can happen is that the hamburgers look all right in the outside but are not cooked in the middle I have come across that several times.

Member

Would report food poisoning , but this is for food labelling. How is the common man (or woman) to know if it is incorrectly labelled? Haddock vs whiting? Horsemeat vs beef etc.

Member

Hi LW, good point about labelling. Remember, the hotline is also aimed at people who work in the food industry and are aware of malpractice, poor standards or illegal procedures. I realise it’s hard for ordinary consumers to find out whether your fish is whiting or haddock. This why we did the fish and lamb investigations (and that involved a lab, rather than just a taste test), because it’s almost impossible for the consumer to know these things. But sometimes people in the industry might want to report some of the things they see, confidentially.

Member

You might change your opinion of eating cats and dogs if you saw the coloured photos sent to me by an American organisation which shows the animals being tortured before they die.

[Hello Duncan, your comment has been edited to align with Community Guidelines. Please try and stay on topic. Thank you, mods]

Member

Spot checks by local authorities on food premises, shops and catering establishments is one of their remits to “keep us safe”. If they don’t have the money – staff – to do this properly, and don’t apply sanctions sensibly (closing down offending premises might send a message) then we will not get protection. By all means have a whistleblowers’ hotline to national food standards, but fund the local authorities properly to do their job.

Re the intro, I prefer haddock to cod from the chippy, partly for the flavour and it is usually cooked to order (England) rather than drying out in the hot cabinet. You might also be given it by mistake; one bit of battered fish from the display looks much like another so the Birmingham “crime” might be a genuine mistake. And campylobacter is not a food crime, it is a natural problem that does not yet have a solution.

The topic is, of course, serious. Substituting one food for another is cheating, but if the vendor is prepared to do that, what other corners will be cut – contaminated food, out of date for example. This can make you ill or kill you. I do not think the “authorities” take this seriously enough. Our local market has a fish stall (iced displays) with a lot left at the end of the day. How many times is this displayed again before it is sold? Meat pies out on display, maybe reappearing at market after market. Are they checked for contents? Who is going to “whistleblow”? Only routine spot checks can deal with this.

Member

[Sorry Ian, your comment has been removed to align with Community Guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Member

[Sorry Duncan we’ve removed your comment to align with Community Guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Member

[Sorry Ian, your comment has been removed to align with Community Guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Member
Robert says:
2 September 2016

I have always asked for my fish to be cooked in front of me its never been a problem where i live in Scotland

Member
David Hughes says:
1 September 2016

Not knowingly been served with fraudulent food but sure I probably have however cannot trace any illness to a possible case. Anything that improves food safety and traceabillity is welcome

Member
Aileen says:
1 September 2016

I agree. I once got food poisoning after eating a fish supper and remember thinking at the time that the fish seemed a bit dry. If I had had a way of reporting the shop in question perhaps the problem could have been identified, or at least the owner’s attention alerted to it.

Member
Jean Bell says:
1 September 2016

Well done!!! We need this!!!! Although I don’t know how to tell the difference other than not liking the taste but that could be the sauce or how it’s cooked. I would definitely use this if I knew!!!!! Thanks.

Member
Gordon Scott says:
1 September 2016

Having had food poison once nice the Ministry of food closed the cafe down in question two weeks later the owner opened up has a fish and chip shop ime glad Which are now doing something about these dodgy traders good news thank you .

Member
M. Silverwood says:
1 September 2016

We need people to be better educated about food. Schools could help here. Home Economics classes. Earlier this week I bought a packet of beef koftas made in Germany. I suppose it was beef but when I fried them each produces a couple of tablespoons of fat which I poured away. The koftas themselves were full of tiny lumps of hard gristle. I would have welcomed a label that told me that it was X % fat and Y % gristle.

Member
gordon mcbrearty says:
1 September 2016

i am not sure if this would help as when i eat from carry out that we are eating food thats is right or not

Member

All fair comments but any steps taken to ensure safety of the food we eat should be welcomed. However, I don’t know if I would use the hotline as I cook so I know what’s in my meals!

Member
Derek Collier says:
1 September 2016

I do not think that this would help; as most if not all government agences do not help the consumer rather the opposite as they may some time fine establisments this is not a deterent.
I pesonally do not buy prepacked or ready meals; nor do I purchase takaway, as I would rather cook fresh ingrediants myself.

Member
Alan Clarke says:
1 September 2016

In essence…………………Unfortunately NOT

Member

Why don’t the Food Standards Agency name and shame establishments that are wrongly selling food that is fake or dodgy. Then the public will be able to make up its own mind about purchasing from that establishment.
I do not think that this new “initiative” will help very much as it is dependant on the public having the knowledge about what they are eating.

Member

Many people would just ignore the published facts as many ignore any advice given to them. Scam advice springs to mind

Member

Hi Alex, if you see my comment above to LW, I reminded her that the hotline is also for people who work in the food industry, for them to confidentially report any malpractice that they see and are worried about. This should help the Food Crime and Incidents Unit pick up bad behaviour and prosecute. I agree – it’s often hard for ordinary consumers to know what they are eating – which is why the system needs to be policed well enough to give consumers confidence without having to do the research themselves!

Member
Mel McDonald says:
1 September 2016

For me there are a number of issues here. Health obviously, and people should be able to have confidence that whatever food they buy, either from a restaurant or in a shop is fit for human consumption. Fraud is another matter, and whilst eating crocodile passed off as chicken (apparently its close) may not be harmful to the person eating it, it’s still fraud, and should be stamped out because invariably the person committing it is making greater profits than other legitimate businesses who play by the rules and therefore they are gaining unfair advantage (never mind the moral dimension associated with the fraud!) There’s another point which I have to say is more theoretical than fact, but its about whether people really care? Yes, if I eat cat thinking its something else I’d be livid (and I’m not a cat lover on any level) but if someone sold whiting pretending to be cod – I’m not so sure that too many people would care enough to do something about that.

Member

Hi Mel, gosh, who knew crocodile was like chicken! Interesting point about whether people would care about cod and whiting (other than environmentalists not wanting to eat one particular type over another, more plentiful one) . I think, as you raise in your opening, it’s a matter of principle that fraud should be stamped out.

Member
Irene King says:
1 September 2016

I welcome this hotline as I work in the catering industry and know how important it is in terms of hygiene. I would never produce, serve food that does not meet the highest standards and always welcome visits from Environmental Health. I hate the thought of visiting an eaterie and being served food which is not as intimated on the Menu. I would report an issue on the hotline without question.

Member
Peter Amsden says:
1 September 2016

I would most certainly use a food hot line. I have been suspicious at times, and would have welcomed a second opinion.

Member
John Baxter says:
1 September 2016

I think it is a very good idea provided it is used honestly and not vindictively. Customers should be able to expect the genuine article they have paid for and not a cheap alternative.

Member

I think some are missing the point on horse meat. Why be outraged about eating horse when they would otherwise happily eat sheep, cow, pig, chicken, fish etc etc. I think it was the fact that they didnt know that what they were eating contained horse meat. The helpline? I wouldn’t use it and like others have said it would be abused by anyone who wanted to cause difficulty for businesses -especially racist abuse. Isn’t trading standards the body to go to with issues of products that are not what they say they are? I personally would contact environmental health if I was sold a food that wasn’t what it claimed to be. I have had experience of a well known high street sushi restaurant’s staff being unable to tell me what the meat like substance in my vegetarian dish was. Not one of them could tell me. It turns out after emailing the head office myself it was soya protein that was not listed as an ingredient, they have since changed their menus.

Member
Jo Hewitt says:
1 September 2016

Great idea!

Member
J . M. says:
1 September 2016

A very important safeguard for the consumer to have, and i would without hesitation use the hotline . It’s all about ” profit ” for the suppliers / retailers at the consumer’s expense and those falsifying ingredients should be prosecuted .

Member
Keith Landles says:
1 September 2016

“Fraudulent food” may be a worry but what about the stuff we are sold today, in high street supermarkets? Take bacon for instance? There is nothing fraudulent about that is there? Is there? Grill some on a George Foreman and see the absolutely disgusting, watery, rusty-coloured liquid which comes out of it – which otherwise we would consume!. The point I am making is this. The established and supposedly legal food provision industry has cut so many corners and changed the mode of food preparation so much – all to cut costs ( in order to increase board-room bonuses? ), not necessarily to give the customer a better product. Start the campaign with inspecting supermarket shelves as opposed to kebab shops or Indian takeaways.

Member

Your bacon supplier has got me worried Keith- I use a commercial microwave with a special type of plastic tray with raised edges leaving parallel valleys for the bacon to cook in two minutes (yes thats all the time it takes ) .The result is a very small amount of near transparent white fat but I always use top quality bacon and use back-bacon not the bacon with large amounts of fat. It tastes natural and with no “fatty ” after taste .

Member

I can’t help but feel that the standards will continue to be poor as long as premises are permitted to remain operational after failing the food standards basic inspection. Premises in Scotland can fail an inspection and continue to operate while awaiting a re-inspection which according to the Food Standards Agency’s own site can be a period of a year or more. If a car fails it MOT it goes of the road until it is fit for purpose and that is only certified after being re-tested. This principal should be applied to all food outlets, if they are not fit for purpose then they are a threat to public safety and should be dealt with accordingly .

Member

I am afraid you are wrong in your comment on Scotland Brod . If you know Scottish law then you will know local councils take care of food hygiene. In that case I have picked the biggest city council in Scotland covering a vast area – IE- Glasgow it has the most restaurants in Scotland for a start and the biggest population. Glasgow- food hygiene inspections > Remedial action notices > may be served in circumstances where URGENT action is required to ensure food safety > A Remedial Action Notice may PROHIBIT any activity which is giving rise to a food safety HAZARD and may even require the COMPLETE CESSATION of a food operation until urgent matters are addressed -IE closing the restaurant down IMMEDIATELY. It then goes on to list IMMEDIATE CLOSURE examples rodent infestation , no water in the premises , extremely poor hygiene practices OR UNACCEPTABLE practices or conditions on the premises , What you are talking about is MINOR infringements. I should add looking at the bottom of Glasgows webpage – they will be prosecuted and shut down immediately in cases of food poisoning and I have been in environmental health laboratories samples can , in an emergency , be rushed to their scientific staff who are called out if late in the day for forensic examination .

Member
Angus O'Henley says:
1 September 2016

I would refer you to the growing number of fast food establishments on the Paisley Road West ,covering Craigton and Cardonald. Were found to be in breach of legislation and all allowed to carry on trading whilst awaiting a secondary examination and it was the local press who reported this matter. If you care to walk along this road you will find that the traders are using the story as a form of advertising e.g. we are now in possession of a food hygiene certificate allowing us to carry on trading !!
Throughout Scotland I have found fish restaurants selling what is claimed to be haddock and it was not, in some cases it was Whiting and in other cases it was Vietnamese fish I reported this to Local Authority Environmental Health and to Trading Standards and none of them had the courtesy to reply let alone say what action they took if any.

Member

BROD-As I presented accurate factual information why the “thumbs down ” , it only leaves the conclusion that you would rather the viewers on Which who come here for help should be told information that is not true . It only takes a minute to verify what I said was the truth , are you “man enough ” to tell me why you think I am lying ?

Member

Angus brod made a comment that premises can fail inspection and continue to operate in Scotland — the same applies in England ,there are different degrees in both countries as to the severity of the food problem . Do you want me to mention the English ones that have failed inspection because of say- uncooked meat and cooked meat in the same fridge section and whole lot more , they dont get a court order to close only forced to change their working practices . Is Cardonald not in the Renfrewshire Council area ? with this new Glasgow city business instead of Glasgow Regional council /Strathclyde is it not the case that that area is covered by Paisley Environmental Health ? not Glasgow City ?

Member

Duncan,No idea why you think I responded with a thumbs down for your reply to me? I did not react. However as you ask me to respond I would say that a system that promotes mediocrity rather than excellence appears to me in place. A failure to meet standards for whatever reason is surely a cause for concern and action. Which readers can easily access the food standards site themselves and judge for themselves whether they want to use establishments that don’t tick all the boxes.

Member

Well thanks for the honest reply thats all I wanted Broderick . I was only stating the legal facts and was expecting a rebuttal on those grounds . Its a pity more posters aren’t like you.

Member

In Wales premises can gain one out of a possible five stars and still continue trading. They can be (and are) closed down without notice in the case of suspected poisoning of patrons, but it’s not as straightforward an area as some might think.

And the problem I mentioned at the outset still remains: hotlines provide opportunities for those who want to damage a business. In small communities, this is a real and ever-present risk, especially in holiday resorts, where competition becomes fierce in the off-season.

Member

Now thats the type of factual even handed post I like Ian .

Member

One response to your point about people using hotlines in order to damage businesses – the hotline is just one stage (the front end, you could say) in a process of establishing whether there is, or what is the extent of, any food crime. Hotlines may be abused (and Crimestoppers and Police Scotland surely are used to this), but that is not to say they are not a useful source of information that can then be utilised by the relevant authorities in order to bring prosecutions forward. Any good enforcement system should have a good number of checks and balances in place to ensure that malicious, unnecessary or unsubstantiated reports at the front end do not lead to bad prosecutions.

Member

I agree hotlines as such are an excellent idea. What I wonder about is why they’re confidential?

Member
john c malcolm says:
1 September 2016

I would definitely use such a hotline if I thought the situation was a danger to public health or if unacceptable food was being sold by mislabelling (e.g poor hygeine, horsemeat being passed off as “beef” etc)

Member
Blacksky says:
1 September 2016

Its worth a try-and better than doing nothing.

Member
Mrs June Reid says:
2 September 2016

I don’t eat out very often, but if I thought that I was being served something which I knew was not what it was described as, then I certainly would report it.

Member
James says:
2 September 2016

I think the help line is a good thing and if I thought there was something not right about food I bought I would certainly report it. I have to say that if I had bought whiting in a batter I would not have known it wasn’t haddock. I think a problem in this country is we don’t really like to complain unlike Americans who have no problems complaining, and that is something I admire about them you do not pull the wool over their eyes for long.

Member

I will second and third that James ,if we are to accept an American economy then we should have the same rights and respect given to US citizens . They play hard ball then we should , I am never slow about complaining .

Member
Douglas Mackinnon says:
2 September 2016

Douglas says:
The reporting telephone No would have to be clearly identified in each premise if this proposal is to have the desired effect

Member
Jim Brown says:
2 September 2016

I believe this will go a long way in cutting down the ammount of fraud that occurs. This can only happen if the FFS has the resources and backbone to follow the calls up?

Another concern that I have is: ………As we are supposed to be a country that said no to GMO in our foodchain; I would like to see food contents labeling showing this. At the moment this is not the case. For example; soya. A lot of this foodstuff is grown in South America; which happens to grow a lot of GMO crop.
A lot of vegertarian/vegan food actually helping to produce GM food!!!!

Member

Hi Jim, good point about Food Standards Scotland being well resourced. , When the new body was set up, Which? campaigned to ensure that it had the right resources to make a positive difference for Scottish consumers, both for food safety and for diet and nutrition. The whole food fraud enforcement system relies on being well resourced, proactive and being well networked in order to translate good intelligence into action. FSS needs to work well with other agencies, both in Scotland and across borders.

Member
jean watt says:
2 September 2016

we are quite picky wine drinkers and tend to stick to known brands. finding the fridge empty we walked to our local convenience store were we purchased one of our usual favourites. both of us commented it wasnt right , we didnt have a second glass the rest went down the sink. I want to know im getting what im paying for and to be able to report suspicious goods easily

Member
Gordon Berry says:
2 September 2016

I totally agree with the sentiment behind your campaign, but it is difficult for the average customer to know if there is a problem with the goods on sale . For example I doubt very much if I could tell the difference between horse meat and bovine meat.

Member

Hi Gordon, thanks for your comment. I just posted a comment above about this (see my response to LW). Remember, the hotline is also aimed at people who work in the food industry and are aware of malpractice, poor standards or illegal procedures. I realise it’s hard for ordinary consumers to find out whether your fish is whiting or haddock. This why we did the fish and lamb investigations (and that involved a lab, rather than just a taste test), because it’s almost impossible for the consumer to know these things. But sometimes people in the industry might want to report some of the things they see, confidentially.

Member
Trevor Swistchew says:
7 September 2016

If every food store had a large sign with the food report details in large letters it might stop stores buying in food NOT for human consumption and if stores are caught selling other than what is in the packet there must be penalties to fund further food protection for the customer.

Member

Trevor -that was put forward a long time ago but was rejected as a “restriction of business ” , whether that view has changed in 2016 I leave others to answer.

Member
jamesyeo says:
2 September 2016

many years ago when I was a van boy for mothers pride a Indian restaurant we delivered to used to buy cases of KENO MEAT for there curries not just one or two but 10 /12 every week in AYR

Member

They werent alone James the same many years ago I remember reading in a newspaper article about a woman who fed her husband “juicy ” cat-food , she said he thought it was the best she had cooked especially the gravy. And if you are talking of Scotland 40 years ago an Indian restaurant in Alexandra street in Clydebank was closed down and the owners prosecuted when health+safety officers found a frozen dog in their deep freezer .

Member
Colin says:
5 September 2016

The hotline may encourage whistleblowers working within the industry to report bad practice.
As an ordinary customer, I would report any concerns to local trading standards and/or environmental health.

Member

FSS has just announced a Food Alert that Errington Cheese Ltd has been issued with a blanket ban in which 20 people were effected with E.coli including a three year old girl who has since died . All produce should be withdrawn from sales and those not yet on sale should be withheld .Two strains of E.coli have been detected O157 and non-O157 in a number of different cheeses Dunsyre Blue is one . As this is so serious I am sure Which will allow publication of the emergency help number– 0800-028-2816 . A spokeswoman from Errington Cheese declined to comment. It has now spread to two areas of Scotland but this cheese also is on sale in England .

Member

Thank you for sharing this Duncan.

Member
Vlastimil Srsen says:
19 November 2016

Well all this is quite speculative, unless if fraud is proven, the perpetrators are dealt harshly. Business shall be shut and according the seriousness of off a jail term shall be considered. Current situation where business is shut and the person in questions starts new one in the same field is shambles and waste of public money for first prosecution. If such a serious fraud as meet swapping the consequences shall be exemplary otherwise nobody is safe. So far I do not see this kind of attitude quality of food shall be in focus. because it will safe money on NHS in long run. State should be more proactive and not cut resources of FSS.

Member

You have a very good point Vlastimil and for a- How to do it the RIGHT way -visit the US, in particular the FDA – Food+ Drug Administration who have even updated the strength of their laws with the Presidents help. As anyone who knows very strong rules apply all the way down the food chain in the US including advertising -say if an drink is advertised as “an orange drink ” in a food establishment it must be squeezed oranges NOT coloured/flavoured water with 200 chemicals inside . Check out -foodsafety.gov/news/fsma.html – and remember this is the home of commercial capitalism so why isnt HMG copying the US as it copies everything else– no profit maybe or human life in the UK worth less than the US ?