Local councils have stepped up efforts to crack down on food and drink crime across the UK with raids up by 10% over the last three years.
Data from local councils shows that 115 raids in stores and fast food outlets were carried out by trading standards teams in 2012/13, rising to 127 in 2014/15, according to commercial law firm EMW.
However, despite the rise, the number of raids “remains low”, suggesting that under-resourced councils may be struggling to carry out investigations, the firm added.
In addition, very few raids have led to prosecutions for breaching food and drink laws. Of the 363 raids carried out over the three year period just 45 resulted in an enforcement action or prosecution, EMW added.
The vast majority of raids in shops and off-licences focused on counterfeit alcohol sales while raids on takeaways and fast food outlets tended to focus on “misrepresented” meats.
Sebastian Calnan, consultant at EMW, said: “Although there has been a rise in raids, consumers will remain concerned that there are many more businesses escaping Trading Standards’ net.
“Horror stories of takeaways substituting the advertised meat for illegal or unsavoury alternatives have been well publicised.
“Trading standards teams do a great job, but without adequate funding or resources instances of food and drink fraud or misselling may slip through the cracks.”