New food crime unit is set up after horsemeat probe
The Government is to create a new Food Crime Unit following a probe by a Northern Irish academic into the horsemeat scandal.
The body, to be based at the Food Standards Agency, was the key recommendation by expert Professor Chris Elliott, commissioned by the Government to look into the UK food chain last year.
Professor Elliott, director of the Global Institute for Food Security at Queen's University, also called for the development of a whistleblowing system, better intelligence-gathering and sharing, and unannounced checks.
"There is a huge incentive for the criminal to pursue food crime, which risks proliferation if left unchecked," his report said.
Law enforcement agencies believe food crime is becoming a growing problem as gangs move away for drug-trafficking and armed robbery.
Interpol said: "Criminals have realised they can make the same amount of money by dealing with counterfeit food. Invariably, sentences are much lighter."