Food fraud probe into beef falsely labelled as British

Food fraud probe into beef falsely labelled as British

The National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) is investigating potential food fraud involving pre-packed sliced beef which was labelled as British but came from South America and Europe.

A supermarket in the UK has been forced to remove products from its shelves.

The unit has declined to name the retailer or the supplier of the meat.

Andrew Quinn, deputy chief of the NFCU, said it was not food safety issue but a matter of food fraud, which it takes very seriously.

The products include pre-packed sliced beef and deli products.

Mr Quinn said: “The retailer was notified on the same day that we took action against the food business suspected of the fraud and immediately removed all affected products from their shelves.

“The retailer continues to work closely and cooperatively with the NFCU investigation to progress the case against the supplier. This is not a food safety issue but a matter of food fraud.”

The BBC has contacted UK supermarkets for comment. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi, Lidl, the Co-op, Waitrose, Morrisons, Iceland and Marks & Spencer said they are not the retailer that had been supplied with the beef.

Charlotte Di Cello, director of trading at Waitrose, said: “We know each … Read More

Extended life for two UK nuclear power stations

Extended life for two UK nuclear power stations

Energy giant EDF has announced plans to extend the lives of two of the UK’s five remaining nuclear power stations.

Heysham 1 and Hartlepool had been due to close in March next year, but they will now be kept open until early 2026.

The company says the move will support energy security, reduce demand for imported gas, and reduce carbon emissions.

About 1,400 people work at the two sites, with hundreds more in the supply chain.

The government welcomed the news, with Secretary of State Grant Shapps saying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine demonstrated the “vital importance” of bolstering energy security.

Heysham 1 and Hartlepool began operating in 1983. Each has two Advanced Gas Cooled reactors, which were originally scheduled for closure in 2014. Two previous lifetime extensions had taken the closure date to March 2024.

The two power stations currently account for about 5% of the country’s electricity.

The announcement comes at a time when the country’s energy security has been coming under intense scrutiny.

The bulk of our electricity is generated from gas. Last year, the conflict in Ukraine led to a sudden spike in gas prices – which also led to a steep increase in electricity bills.

Renewable … Read More

Government ministers set to take role in trade disputes

Government ministers set to take role in trade disputes

Ministers will take greater powers in tackling unfair trade practices, reducing the role of an independent body set up after Brexit to adjudicate disputes.

In a move welcomed by industry, Kemi Badenoch, the business and trade secretary, announced changes to the way in which Britain investigates unfair practices.

The Trade Remedies Authority was established in 2021 after Britain’s departure from the European Union to help to protect businesses from unfair international competition and unforeseen surges in imports.

The changes would give the government powers to decide the outcome of the authority’s investigations.

Announcing the proposals, Badenoch said they would maintain the “TRA’s expert independent analytical and investigative role, while also giving ministers greater power to look at wider public interest considerations”. She said it would deliver the “flexibility to make decisions that balance the interests of UK producers, importers and consumers” and would allow ministers “to apply an alternative remedy from that recommended by the TRA”.

The government has responsibility for setting trade remedies policy, within international rules established by the World Trade Organisation.

Gareth Stace, director-general of UK Steel, the trade association, said the reforms were “hugely significant for UK industry, making the UK’s trade remedies regime more balanced, … Read More

UK economy returns to growth in January

UK economy returns to growth in January

The Office for National Statistics reports that GDP grew by 0.3% during January, after shrinking by 0.5% in December.

That’s a faster recovery than expected after the economy stalled in the final quarter of 2022.

Analysts had expected modest growth of just 0.1% as strike action and the cost of living crisis prevented a recovery in consumer and business activity.

The latest GDP figure could give the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, a slight boost before next week’s budget, when he will set out the government’s tax and spending policies.

It also adds to challenge facing the chancellor to meet his target to get government debt falling as a share of GDP. The country is the only one among its G7 peers that has not yet recovered its pre-pandemic size.

Darren Morgan, ONS director of economic statistics, said the economy had “partially bounced back” from the large fall seen in December.

“Across the last three months as a whole and, indeed over the last 12 months, the economy has, though, showed zero growth,” he said.

“The main drivers of January’s growth were the return of children to classrooms, following unusually high absences in the run-up to Christmas, the Premier League clubs returned … Read More