The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is investigating the supply of pre-packed sliced meat and deli products wrongly labelled as British to an unnamed UK retailer.
These products in actuality were sourced from South America and Europe.
According to Andrew Quinn, deputy head of the FSA’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU), which is leading the investigation, the retailer involved has removed all affected products from its shelves.
“The retailer was notified on the same day that we took action against the food business suspected of the fraud and immediately removed all affected products from their shelves,” he said.
“The retailer continues to work closely and cooperatively with the NFCU investigation to progress the case against the supplier.”
This is a matter of food fraud as opposed to food safety, Quinn said.
“We take food fraud very seriously and are acting urgently to protect the consumer,” he added.
He said that fraud investigations of this nature “take time” and thus any outcome, including potential prosecution, should not be expected soon.
The NFCU is a law enforcement function that works across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It works closely with the Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit within Food Standards Scotland.
It was established in 2015 following a review of the 2013 incident whereby beef meat was found to have been adultered with horse meat, known to many as ‘horsegate‘.