On the 1st February 2016, The Sentencing Council’s Guidelines (‘the guideline’) covering Food Safety and Hygiene Offences were published. 

The guideline contains four categories of culpability and three categories of harm.  There is one sentencing table for individuals and one for organisations which is based on size.  

In April 2019, the Sentencing Council published an assessment report of the impact of the guideline. 

Impact on Organisations | Kangs Food Safety and Hygiene Solicitors

  • Between 2013 and 2016 the number of organisations prosecuted and ultimately sentenced for food safety and hygiene offences more than doubled. 
  • The vast majority of offences committed by organisations are sentenced in the Magistrates’ Court and attract a financial penalty.
  • A comparison of the level of fines imposed post and pre guidelines show that the mean fine amount has increased from £2,200 to £7,100, with the median increasing from £1,500 to £2,500.
  • The proportion of organisations receiving higher financial penalties has increased significantly from 11% to 34%. 

Fine amounts imposed on organizations sentenced for food safety and hygiene offences covered by the guideline, 10 months pre guideline compared with 10 months post-guideline: 

Impact On Individuals | Environmental Health Solicitors

  • The number of individuals prosecuted for food safety and hygiene offences has increased in recent years. 
  • Most offences are sentenced in the Magistrates’ Court. 
  • In 2017, 92% of offences were punished by way of a fine with 3% of defendants receiving a suspended sentence, 2% a community order and less than 1% an immediate custodial sentence. 
  • The impact of the guideline for individuals has been relatively minimal.  The mean fine increased from approximately £930 to £1,300, with the median increasing from £500 to £520.  The percentage of individuals receiving a fine in excess of £2,000 increased from 13% to 17%.

Fine amounts imposed on adult offenders sentenced for food safety and hygiene offences covered by the guideline, 10 months pre-guideline compared with 10 months post-guideline:

How Can We Help? | Kangs National Food Safety& Hygiene Solicitors

Early expert, advice and assistance is imperative in matters concerning food and hygiene safety in order to protect the business and individuals affected from the outset as far as circumstances permit.

Offences of this nature, if proven, can, as shown above, result in extremely heavy fines, significant reputational damage and custodial sentences.

The team at Kangs Solicitors guides individuals and organisations through the entire process of an investigation/prosecution while maintaining a dialogue with the investigating authorities and safeguarding the interests of our clients at each stage in the procedure.

Please feel free to contact our Team through any of the Solicitors named below who will be happy to provide you with some initial advice and assistance.

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

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