FSA issues fraud warnings

Fraudsters have allegedly targeted small wholesale food businesses that supply meat, seafood and fruit and vegetables.

Food companies are being warned by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the police to be on the look-out for fraud involving identity theft, which could result in the sale of unsafe food.

Fraudsters have allegedly targeted small wholesale food businesses that supply meat, seafood and fruit and vegetables.

The FSA said the alleged offenders acquire authentic letterheads from legitimate companies and then change the telephone, email and fax details.

An FSA statement said: "They then contact a genuine wholesaler,importer and place a food order with them. This business, after completing credit checks, agrees to supply the food. However, before the delivery is made, the driver is contacted and the location switched - usually to the roadside or a car park. The fraudsters then make off with the goods and attempt to sell them on elsewhere."

Police officers have arrested seven men, aged between 19 and 44, from Dewsbury, Bradford, Wakefield and Brighton, on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and money-laundering.

The FSA is urging businesses to check who they are doing business with, including credit checks and a call to the business. They should get delivery drivers to ring in if they are asked to make changes to their schedule.

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