New guidelines for sentencing the most serious breaches of food safety come into force today (1 February 2016) with fines of up to £20m available to the Courts for the most serious breaches involving corporate manslaughter. The new Guidelines for breaches of the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013, send a clear message to any businesses which compromise on food safety.
The Guidelines are directed at both companies and individuals. When sentencing companies, the courts are to administer fines that are proportionate to the organisation’s turnover and for individuals a custodial sentence of up to 18 months is available, where there has been a flagrant disregard for the law.
Three years last month marked the anniversary of the horsemeat scandal which shook the food industry and sparked a flurry of ‘never again’ promises on food safety and authenticity. Despite repeated calls for tougher regulation and policing of food safety by leading food experts, including Professor Chris Elliott, Local Authorities and the police have been hampered by the regulatory system not punishing offenders sufficiently thus ‘undermining trust in the food safety standards of the UK food industry’.
With food companies under increasing budget restraints at the same time as regulatory enforcement powers get tougher, it is vital the industry works together to fight food fraud and improve safety. One of the fundamental pillars of many companies’ food safety strategies is a full understanding of their supply chains. With food supply now truly global, simply understanding the origin of much of the food we eat is a major exercise.
Over the past few years, Authenticate has helped companies across all sectors in the food industry to address the issue of transparency of their supply chains. The collaborative approach has eliminated huge amounts of cost for those involved and has built a truly global platform of food suppliers across 5 continents.
The new Guidelines send a clear message to any businesses which compromise on food safety.