Meat products top Food Fraud Network activity report

FFN was created in July 2013 following the horse meat scandal

Meat products were the category of foodstuffs for the majority of exchanges through a European network that monitors food fraud.

This was followed by fish products and honey, according to a 2014 activity report which included 60 cases.

The EU Food Fraud Network (FFN) is 28 national food fraud contact points and the non-EU Member States Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and the Commission.

Cross-border co-operation

They are authorities designated by each EU Member State to ensure cross-border administrative assistance and cooperation, where action is required in more than one Member State, on potential fraudulent deceptive practices.

The FFN enables exchanges on potential food fraud cases and also serves as a forum for discussion on the coordination and prioritisation of action at EU level on “food fraud” matters.

It was created in July 2013 following the horse meat scandal.

The report said statistical conclusions related to potential “food fraud” cases in Europe cannot yet be drawn given that Member States may also exchange information outside of the network.

It added that cases which do not have a cross-border dimension, so occur at purely national level, are not exchanged via the network.

Reasons for violations and AAC system

Alleged violations were mostly related to labelling non-compliances at 25% (with regard to durability dates, addition of water or ingredients).

Falsified certification and/or documents made up 22% and substitution, such as replacement of a higher value species with a lower value species was 17%.

Prohibited substance (10%), prohibited treatment and/or process (8%), prohibited products/unfit for human consumption (7%), counterfeiting (5%) and adulteration (3%) also made the list.

The Commission is finalising work to equip the Food Fraud Network with a dedicated IT tool – the Administrative Assistance and Cooperation (AAC) System – for the handling of cases similar to the RASSF portal.

A testing phase for the pilot version of the AAC System foresees an internal testing phase within the European Commission as well as a subsequent testing phase between a few Member States.

The AAC System should be operational by the second semester of 2015.

The FFN has met twice in 2013 and the next meeting is planned for the second quarter 2014. 

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