Lessons to be learnt from UK food fraud

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 20th April 2016

LawThere are some serious lessons to be learnt for businesses in the food industry when examining a unique case of food fraud out of the UK this week.

Facts of the fraudulent scenario

The guilty culprit, Yakub Moosa Yusuf,  was sentenced to nearly six years jail in the UK for placing orders for meat from numerous suppliers using the identity of businesses he did not work for.

According to The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, Yusuf has been labelled Britain’s “most notorious food criminal” and had already served time for selling chicken dipped in bleach to make it appear clean.

For his latest crimes, he was sentenced for purchasing meat at auction before on-selling it. The meat was purchased either using the details of businesses he did not own or work for, and paid cheques that later bounced.

The crimes were widespread, impacting farmers and businesses across England, Ireland and Scotland. The earnings from his fraud totalled £375, 000.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency said it worked with local UK council and UK Police to closely gather thousands of pieces of evidence in order to help convict Yusuf of his food related crimes.

A second man, Zulfiqar Alam, was also sentenced for his work as an accomplice. He received three years and 10 months, for his role in the crimes.

Lessons to be learnt

The following three lessons can be learnt from this case:

  1. Get to know your customers: If you take the time to get to know your customers, who works for them and how they operate it will be easier for your business to spot if something seems odd or different about an order.
  2. Confirm identity: Ensure that your business has a system in place to confirm the identity of your customers.
  3. Seek references: If you are dealing with a customer you have not dealt with before, obtain trade references and speak to the people. If you cannot find the people themselves, independently, be careful as they may be party to a fraud.