Operators warned of tougher sentencing on food safety

Philip Sewell
Philip Sewell
17/03/2017 - 08:53
Owners of restaurants, pubs and supermarkets in England and Wales have been warned that new laws and tougher sentencing means they could lose their livelihoods if they do not comply with food safety regulations, according to UK commercial law firm Maclay Murray and Spens LLP (MMS).

Philip Sewell, a commercial dispute resolution partner at MMS, said: “In the wake of recently tightened sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences, where business turnover and the potential harm a breach could cause are now being taken into account, it is only a matter of time before a similar approach is adopted for food hygiene and labeling offences.

"We are already seeing evidence that tougher sentences are being sought by the CPS in England and Wales.”

Under the latest EU regulations, businesses preparing and selling pre-packaged food must provide details of 14 major allergens in the food they are serving.

Regulations introduced by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on March 1st means minced meat based products must be thoroughly cooked, unless specific approval and verification has been given from their meat supplier and they are approved by FSA, the local authority or environmental health officers.

Sewell said: “The FSA has previously set out that burgers should be cooked thoroughly, as E. coli bacteria, which cause food poisoning, can be present throughout mincemeat, rather than just on the surface.”

The burden of proof will lie with the eatery if they are challenged to show that they are cooking their food and following safe procedure.

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