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Organised Food Crime? Analysing harmful and criminal activities in the food supply chain in England and Italy

Rizzuti, Alice (2021) Organised Food Crime? Analysing harmful and criminal activities in the food supply chain in England and Italy. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Food has always been subject to practices such as counterfeiting or adulteration. Yet, food crime – criminal practices committed throughout the food supply chain – is an under investigated field of research of extreme importance as modern food systems offer profitable opportunities to criminal actors. By drawing upon documentary analysis of public reports, court decisions and official documents published by relevant authorities, and on twenty-seven semi-structured interviews with experts such as prosecutors, law enforcement, and other public officers active in England and Italy, this socio-legal research study investigates the perceptions and conceptualisations of food crime adopted by relevant food and criminal justice system institutions. By adopting a comparative approach, this study unpacks the official narratives on food crime and explores the way this is conceptualised, investigated, prosecuted, and sentenced in the English and Italian jurisdictions. Moreover, this research unveils the involvement of organised crime and mafia-type groups in food crime and, by drawing upon literature on green criminology and organised crime studies, it formulates the socio-legal category of ‘organised food crime’. Considering the findings, the study argues that the English and Italian approaches converge in adopting narrow conceptualisations of food crime that mostly overlap with food fraud. Furthermore, it points out how, in food crime, corporate and organised crime actors are involved to the extent that the conceptual and practical boundaries between the two categories of actors overlap. Finally, this research pushes for a wider conceptualisation of food crime that encompasses food harms that are not criminalised by law. In doing so, it suggests that, under the food crime label, institutions should protect interests beyond public health and national economy such as food security, environmental sustainability, and food workers ‘rights.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Alice Rizzuti
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2021 14:16
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2021 14:16

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