Food fraud is now more attractive to organised crime than trafficking drugs – with the potential profits the same, the likelihood of being caught much less and lighter penalties for the few who do.

This is the conclusion, featured in the Daily Telegraph, of a new 18-month investigation and recent report on the findings from Prof Chris Elliott of Belfast Queens University, who points to the driving down of prices by supermarkets as incentivising processors to cut corners, and the cutting of local authority enforcement services to dangerously ineffective levels as being other contributing factors.

The worryingly poor performance of the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) is also cited. In the ten years before last years horse-meat scandal broke the FSA had not tested any product for adulteration with horse, and missed the inclusion of an illegal cancer-causing dye in hundreds of food items in 2003, something that French and Italian laboratories picked up.

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