Crime in the food chain includes offences that are committed in business operations related to the food chain. In practice, such business operations range from farms all the way to restaurants and grocery stores.
Farms produce crops or livestock. Crop production includes the production of crops intended for food or animal feed. All seeds marketed in Finland must be certified. However, uncertified “grey” seeds are also available on the seed market. Fertilisers and plant protection products can be misused, or they or their raw materials can include substances that are not suitable for the intended purposes.
Livestock production means the rearing of sheep, cattle, pigs, fish or poultry. Maintaining, medicating, marking and registering livestock may include neglect that meets the characteristics of an offence. Slaughtering diseased animals for food or slaughtering animals without a meat inspection conducted by a licensed veterinary surgeon is also prohibited.
Food production may involve raw materials that are not listed in the food packaging label: expensive raw materials can therefore be replaced by less expensive ones, or the country of origin of a raw material can be other than that indicated in the label.
At restaurants or grocery stores, the country of origin of fresh fish, vegetables or berries can be indicated incorrectly because consumers are willing to pay more for domestic products. Best before dates of food products may also be modified to extend the sales period.
What all the examples above have in common is money. The aim of crime in the food chain is usually to seek financial gain through fraud.