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National Food Crime Unit

Volume 635: debated on Tuesday 6 February 2018

The Food Standards Agency’s national food crime unit is crucial to protecting consumers from serious criminal activity that impacts on the safety of their food and drink. I understand that the FSA is exploring options for the unit’s future funding, and a decision is expected in late spring.

The FSA is answerable to the Department of Health and Social Care for food safety, but there are a lot of assurance schemes that do not really answer to anybody and which the FSA needs to be able to bring together. That is where the crime unit could do a really good job, so anything the Minister can do to get that money and get the crime unit up and running would be very good.

I thank the Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee for his advice. I know that he is keen and astute on this subject. Ensuring that food businesses meet their safety responsibilities is, of course, one of the FSA’s most important roles. It is developing a new regulatory model and actively engaging with third-party assurance scheme owners to determine how information and data can be shared and more effectively used by regulators.

May I send a brief message of congratulation to the Secretary of State for his rapid response to President Trump’s remarks about the values of the NHS?

As chair of the Westminster Commission on Autism, let me now ask the Secretary of State a serious question. We are about to produce a report on the fake medicine that is sold to families with an autistic child. When the report is published, in the next few days, will the Secretary of State act very quickly to stop this dreadful trade?

Possibly. Anyway, it was a worthy effort, and I will give the hon. Gentleman the benefit of the doubt. Let us now hear from the Minister.

As the hon. Gentleman was so very charming to the Secretary of State, we will of course look into the issue.