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Anti-freeze in vodka and pet food in meals: food fraud report

30 March 2016

Food fraud is costing the country as much as £1.17billion a year and putting lives at risk, according to officials. 

The National Food Crime Unit has revealed that more than 20 organised crime groups are involved in food and drink fraud in the UK. 

The study found:

One in ten consignments of basmati rice bulked up with other rice.
One in three jars of Manuka honey fail to meet the label claims covering quality or botanical origin.
Nineteen out of 78 packs of oregano were bulked up with cheap ingredients such as olive leaves.
Millions of cheap cage eggs have been mislabelled as organic or free range.
Takeaways which have replaced lamb with cheaper off-cuts of meat – one in five were found to be at fault.
Fake versions of branded vodka, such as Smirnoff, containing methanol or anti-freeze – more than 35,000 counterfeit bottles were seized at Dover.
Olive oil is often mislabelled as extra virgin or adulterated.

In addition, a company supplying catering for music festivals was caught buying large quantities of offal from pet food factories, with the intention of supplying it to humans. 

The report said: “Our assessment shows the threat is real. An industry of such scale and diversity, worth up to £200billion annually, inevitably presents opportunities to criminals. 

“Threats exist at a number of levels: from random acts of dishonesty by individual ‘rogues’ to organised fraudulent activity by groups who knowingly set out to deceive consumers or expose them to harm.”

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