Environmental Health Officers are responsible for protecting public health, administering and enforcing environmental health legislation and providing support to minimize health and safety hazards.

They are employed by local authorities throughout the country and are given extensive powers to investigate alleged offences.

The level of prosecutions before the courts is rising rapidly and Sukhdip Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors comments upon the powers of Environmental Health Officers.

The Law | Kangs Food Safety Solicitors

The Food Safety & Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 at section 16 governs the powers of entry for Environmental Health Officers and at section 17 makes provision in the event of their obstruction from exercising their powers.

Section 16 states –

(1) An authorised officer of a food authority, on producing, if so required, some duly authenticated document showing authorisation, has a right at all reasonable hours –

(a) to enter any premises within the authority’s area, for the purpose of ascertaining whether there is, or has been on the premises, any contravention of the provision of the Hygiene Regulations or Regulations 178/2002;

(b) to enter any premises, whether within or outside the authority’s area, for the purposes of ascertaining whether there is on the premises, any evidence, of any such contravention within the area; and

(c) to enter any premises for the purpose of the performance by the authority, of their functions over Hygiene Regulations or Regulation 178/2002

  • Admission to a private dwelling house may not be demanded as of right, unless twenty four hours notice of the intended entry has been given to the occupier.
  • A local authority can also obtain a warrant from the local Justices, if it is anticipated that there will be a refusal of entry, or if premises are otherwise unoccupied.
  • Authorised officers may inspect any record (in whatever form they are held) relating to a food business.  Where these are held electronically, any computer or associated apparatus may be inspected, and a person having charge of any computer, apparatus or material must afford such assistance as is reasonably required.
  • Officers can seize and detain any records which may be required as evidence in proceedings including records stored in electronic form which must be produced in a form suitable for their removal.  

Section 17 states –

  • Any person who –
    • intentionally obstructs a person acting in the execution of the Hygiene Regulations or Regulation 178 / 2002; or
    • without reasonable cause, fails to give to any person acting in the execution of the Hygiene Regulations or Regulation 178 / 2002 or any assistance or information which that person may reasonably require of them for the performance of their functions under the Hygiene Regulations

commits an offence.

  • Any person who, in purported compliance with any requirement as is mentioned in sub-paragraph (b) of Paragraph (1)-
    • furnishes information which they know to be false or misleading in a material particular; or
    • recklessly furnishes information which is false or misleading in a material particular

commits an offence.

Section 19 provides:

  • A person guilty of an offence under regulation 17 is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or to both.

How Can We Help You? | Kangs Health & Hygiene Defence Solicitors

It is important for any business or individual facing any investigation or allegations which may have criminal implications to seek expert legal advice at the earliest stage to ensure that those concerned can be protected as far as possible in the prevailing circumstances.

If you have any similar issues and would appreciate some early expert and robust advice please do not hesitate to contact our team through one of the following who will be happy to help you:

Suki Randhawa
srandhawa@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396 | 07989 521210 (24hr Emergency Number)

John Veale
jveale@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396