Food Safety - Food Fraud

If you think you have seen or bought food or drink that is not properly labelled, incorrectly described, past its use by date, stolen or even poached, see below for guidance on what to look for, and how to report it in confidence.

Food frauds don't just affect you financially they can also harm your health and create an unfair business advantage.

We need to identify and act on food fraud to protect the public, protect legitimate businesses of Stafford Borough and to punish fraudsters.

What Food Fraud Is

Food fraud occurs when illegal, low quality and deliberately mis-described food is sold to customers as legal, premium or accurately described food for financial gain and with the intention of deceiving the consumer.

Although there are several kinds of food fraud, the two main types are:

  1. The sale of food which is unfit and potentially harmful, such as:
    • Recycling of animal by-products back into the food chain
    • Packing and selling of beef and poultry with an unknown origin
    • Knowingly selling goods which are past their safe 'use by' date
  2. The deliberate mis-description of food, such as:
    • Products substituted with a cheaper alternative, for example, farmed salmon sold as wild, and basmati rice adulterated (mixed) with cheap varieties
    • Making false statements about the source of ingredients, i.e. their geographic, plant or animal origin

Food fraud may also involve the sale of meat from animals that have been stolen and/or illegally slaughtered, as well as game animals like deer that may have been poached.

We are also interested in hearing about non-registered and non-approved premises being used for food storage, preparation, slaughter and processing.

Confidential Information

If you are currently working or have been working for a business which may be involved in food fraud activities, or if you, as a customer, have seen or been offered or sold foods which make you suspicious, then please contact us on 01785 619000 or email

Alternatively, contact the Food Standards Agency: or telephone the food fraud hotline on 020 7276 8527, where you can leave an anonymous message.

Your complaint / information will be investigated in the strictest confidence, and if required, appropriate enforcement action will be taken.

A to Z of Services