Food safety is vital to all consumers and food businesses with it being essential that consumers are confident that the food they buy and eat is of the highest standard.

The Food Safety Act 1990 (‘the Act’) lays out the regulatory framework for food safety for all aspects of the food industry ranging from the preparation, sale and supply aiming to maintain high standards amongst those involved in the industry.

 John Veale of Kangs Solicitors comments, inter alia, upon section 7 of the Act which creates the offence of ‘Rendering food injurious to health’.

The team at Kangs Solicitors has vast experience and is highly regarded nationwide for assisting clients facing serious crime allegations of every nature, including those involving regulatory offences, where investigations/prosecutions have been carried out by the Food Standards Agency, local authority or other regulatory authority.

For an initial no obligation discussion, please call our Team at any of our offices detailed below:

The Law | Kangs Food Offences Defence Solicitors

Section 7 of the Act states:

‘Rendering food injurious to health.

  • Any person who renders any food injurious to health by means of any of the following operations, namely—
  • adding any article or substance to the food;
  • using any article or substance as an ingredient in the preparation of the food;
  • abstracting any constituent from the food; and
  • subjecting the food to any other process or treatment,

with intent that it shall be sold for human consumption, shall be guilty of an offence.

  • In determining for the purposes of this section whether any food is injurious to health, regard shall be had to the matters specified in sub–paragraphs (a) to (c) of Article 14(4) of Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002.

Article 14(4) of Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002.

This retained EC Regulation lays down the general principles and requirements of food law and procedures in matters of food safety with the principal aim of protecting human health and consumers’ interests in relation to food.

It provides that in determining whether any food is injurious to health, regard shall be had:

  • not only to the probable immediate and/or short-term and/or long-term effects of that food on the health of a person consuming it, but also on subsequent generations;
  • to the probable cumulative toxic effects;
  • to the particular health sensitivities of a specific category of consumers where the food is intended for that category of consumers.

Section 20 of the Act states:

‘Offences due to fault of another person.

Where the commission by any person of an offence under any of the preceding provisions of this Part is due to an act or default of some other person, that other person shall be guilty of the offence; and a person may be charged with and convicted of the offence by virtue of this section whether or not proceedings are taken against the first-mentioned person.’

Potential Defence | Kangs Food Hygiene Defence Solicitors

Section 21 of the Act provides a comprehensive potential defence, stating, inter alia:

‘Defence of due diligence

(1) In any proceedings for an offence under any of the preceding provisions …. it shall, … be a defence for the person charged to prove that he took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of the offence by himself or by a person under his control.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) above, a person charged with an offence …who neither—

(a) prepared the food in respect of which the offence is alleged to have been committed; nor

(b) imported it into Great Britain,

shall be taken to have established the defence provided by that subsection if he satisfies the requirements of subsection (3) or (4) below.

(3) A person satisfies the requirements of this subsection if he proves—

(a) that the commission of the offence was due to an act or default of another person who was not under his control, or to reliance on information supplied by such a person;

(b) that he carried out all such checks of the food in question as were reasonable in all the circumstances, or that it was reasonable in all the circumstances for him to rely on checks carried out by the person who supplied the food to him; and

(c) that he did not know and had no reason to suspect at the time of the commission of the alleged offence that his act or omission would amount to an offence under the relevant provision.

(4) A person satisfies the requirements of this subsection if he proves—

(a) that the commission of the offence was due to an act or default of another person who was not under his control, or to reliance on information supplied by such a person;

(b) that the sale or intended sale of which the alleged offence consisted was not a sale or intended sale under his name or mark; and

(c) that he did not know, and could not reasonably have been expected to know, at the time of the commission of the alleged offence that his act or omission would amount to an offence under the relevant provision.’

Penalties Upon Conviction | Kangs Environmental Health Defence Solicitors

Section 35 of the Act provides that a person guilty of an offence shall be liable:

  • on summary conviction:  i.e. before a Magistrates’ Court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or both;
  • on conviction on indictment: i.e before a Crown Court, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, a fine, or both.

Who Can I Contact for Advice & Help? | Kangs Food Hygiene Defence Solicitors

If you are subject, or anticipate becoming subject, to any investigation by The Food Standards Agency, local authority or other prosecuting authority in connection with any alleged offence relating to any food or food provision services you should seek expert advice immediately.  

Please do not hesitate to contact the team at Kangs Solicitors through any of the following who will be pleased to speak to you:

John Veale
jveale@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 07989 521210

Suki Randhawa
srandhawa@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396 | 07989 521210