Fraud involving wrongly labelled food is rarely reported to the authorities, Nos television reports on Thursday.
Food safety inspectors received just six reports over the past two years, but experts told the broadcaster the problem is much more widespread. Nobody knows how widespread labelling fraud is ‘but I think you would scream if you knew how much there is,’ one laboratory worker told Nos.
Philip den Ouden, chairman of food industry body FNLI, said: ‘Little attention is paid in the food chain to the integrity of products. Not everyone tests food. This surprises me because there is no risk analysis.’
If public safety is at risk, this has to be reported to the NVWA within four hours. However, there is no requirement to report wrongly labelled products. Laboratory reports are sent to the producers who then decide what action to take.
A former NVWA worker told the broadcaster food fraud is not a priority. ‘It has been removed because of the cuts,’ he said.
Supermarkets also test their products. A spokesman for the Albert Heijn group said: ‘We only register with the NVWA if there is a danger to health.’ The Dutch market leader was twice involved in prosecutions over the past few years.
‘Every discovery of fraud should be reported, possibly to a special hotline,’ Den Ouden told the broadcaster. ‘But that will be tricky because it is a sensitive issue.’
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