That's according to two experts in the sector, who pointed out the pub sector's failings in showcasing the origins of the ingredients in their dishes.
Raids by the authorities uncovered fake alcohol in the UK, 85 tonnes of olives painted with copper sulphate in Italy and monkey meat seized at a Belgium airport – all of which was set to enter the European food system, had Europol not stopped it.
Stuart Kelly, managing director at food fraud protection firm Acoura, highlighted how news of the find could provide pubs with the perfect opportunity to source and highlight assured food for their menus to boost customer confidence.
"Defra's (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) statistics suggest around half of consumers look for a quality assurance label when buying food products," he said.
Not visible in pubs:
"While we increasingly see these labels in supermarkets, they're not so visible in the pub and restaurant sector"
- Source: Stuart Kelly, Acoura
"While we increasingly see these labels in supermarkets, they're not so visible in the pub and restaurant sector."
Signing up to a member organisation such as the Scotch Beef Club or being involved in schemes and standards such as the Marine Stewardship Council's Chain of Custody, Red Tractor or the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board's (AHDB) Quality Standard Mark offered reassurance to customers, he added.
"Operators can use logos on their menus to reassure customers about areas such as sustainability, traceability, provenance and quality," Kelly said.
"By using these labels correctly, consumers can tell that the meat they are ordering is exactly what it claims to be and can be traced."
Laura Ryan, sector strategy director for AHDB Beef and Lamb, said consumer spending and dining research showed assurance guarantees were more important than ever to consumers.
She added: "They want to be assured their food has been produced sustainably and want to know there is full traceability from farm to fork, and the Quality Standard Mark provides these guarantees.
"However, the importance of the Quality Standard Mark is much more than just providing welfare and food safety elements to diners, it's vital in telling customers their beef and lamb is home-grown."
Other illegal food and drink finds:
- 9 tonnes of fertiliser-contaminated sugar in Sudan
- 70kg of chicken intestines preserved in formaldehyde in Indonesia
- Illegal alcohol factories in Greece
- 11kg of locust and 20kg of caterpillars seized by the French
- 450kg of adulterated honey in Australia
- Thousands of cans of sardines ready to be labelled as a branded variety in Peru
- Faked foie gras – actually duck meat – in Hungary