Kangs Solicitors has a longstanding history of advising businesses, directors and individual clients in relation to their obligations under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 (‘the Regulations’) and in the defence of Prosecutions brought under the Regulations.

In this article, Suki Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors discusses potential defences that may be available. We appreciate that individuals and organisations will require specialist legal advice and assistance relating to food safety issues at the earliest opportunity and our team is here to assist.

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

The Regulations | Kangs Food Safety Investigations Solicitors

The Regulations revoked and reinacted with minor changes the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 and certain provisions of the General Food Regulations 2004, in relation to England.

Additionally, the Regulations provide for the execution and enforcement of Regulation (EC) no. 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the council laying down general principles and requirements of food law. 

The Regulations include the enforcement measures:

  • Hygiene Improvement Notices (Regulation 6)
  • Hygiene Prohibition Orders (Regulation 7)
  • Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notices and orders (Regulation 8)
  • Remedial Action Notices (Regulation 9)
  • Detention Notices (Regulation 10)

Increased Prosecutions | Kangs Environmental Health Solicitors

Between 2013 and 2016 the level of fines imposed for food safety and hygiene offences has increased twofold and new Sentencing Guidelines have also had a serious impact.

Potential Defences | Kangs Food Hygiene Defence Solicitors

Regulation 12 provides that in any Proceedings for an alleged offence under the Regulations, it is a defence for the accused to prove that all reasonable precautions and due diligence were exercised in the following terms:  

(1) Provides that in any Proceedings for an offence under these Regulations it shall, subject to paragraph (5), be a defence to prove that the person accused (“the accused”) took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of the offences by the accused or by a person under the command of the accused.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1), a person accused of an offence of contravening Article 12 or Article 14 (1) of the Regulation 178/2002 who did not:

  • prepare the food in respect of which the offence is alleged to have been committed; nor
  • imported into the United Kingdom,

shall be taken to have established the defence provided by paragraph (1) if the requirement of paragraph (3) or (4) are satisfied.

(3) The requirements of this paragraph are satisfied if it is proved that:

  • The commission of the offence was due to the act or default of some other person who was not under the command of the accused; or to reliance on information supplied by such a person.

Either:

  • The accused carried out all such checks of the food in question as were reasonable in the circumstances; or
  • It was reasonable in all of the circumstances for that person to rely on checks carried out by the person who supplied the accused with that food; and
  • The accused did not know and had no reason to suspect at the time the offence was committed that the act or omission would amount to an offence under these Regulations.

(4) The requirements of this paragraph are satisfied if the offence is one of placing on the market and it is proved that:

  • The commission of the offence was due to the act of default of some other person who was not under the control of the accused or to reliant on information supplied by such a person.
  • The placing on the market of which the offence consisted was not a placing on the market under the name or mark of the accused; and
  • The accused did not know and could not reasonably be expected to know at the time the offence was committed that the act or omission would amount to an offence under these Regulations.

How Can We Help? | Kangs Criminal Defence Solicitors

The law continues to evolve in relation to Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations at a rapid pace and the penalties for breach become more onerous.

Whilst, in the appropriate circumstances, a successful defence may be available it is essential that specialist legal guidance is sought at the earliest opportunity. 

Since 1997, we have been here to assist our clients to provide positive solutions to whatever issues may arise in new and developing sectors. 

A sample of our recent food safety work can be found here:

The team at Kangs Solicitors is accustomed to:

  • Liaising with Environment Health Officers at the point of their conducing an investigation into any business.
  • Making representations to them in the absence of being interviewed under caution.
  • Attending any interview under caution and advising our client fully on the law and the options available.  
  • Negotiating with Environmental Health Officers in relation to the best possible outcome if Enforcement Action is being considered.
  • Representing client businesses and Directors throughout court processes of every nature.

Who Can I Contact? | Kangs Food Offences Defence Solicitors

We welcome all new enquiries by telephone or email.

Our team of lawyers is available to meet at any of our offices in London, Birmingham, Manchester or alternatively we are happy to arrange meetings via video conferencing.

For initial enquiries, please contact:

Sukhdip Randhawa
srandhawa@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396 

Helen Holder
hholder@kanngssolicitors.co.uk
020 7936 6396 |0121 449 9888 

John Veale
jveale@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0161 817 5020020 7936 6396