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Food safety regulation

Food businesses are subject to stringent regulation, whether the operation is a single-site venue or a national chain. From the small late-night takeaway to the most lavish offering, food businesses must ensure that they comply with their obligations. Enforcing authorities make both announced and unannounced visits to food businesses. Not only must compliance be achieved from the outset of establishing your food business, but it must be maintained.

The consequences of failing to have robust procedures in place can leave businesses vulnerable to investigation, sanction or even prosecution, with sentences of imprisonment possible in some cases. There can be negative publicity arising from incidents where food hygiene is concerned, which can significantly affect the sustainability and viability of a food business.

How can we help?

Compliance is the key ingredient! The legislation is far-ranging, detailed, and often complex. Our team takes the view that prevention is better than cure. We provide advice to you not only when an investigation has been commenced, but also to food businesses and Food Business Operators who may be setting up in business for the first time. We also provide advice to those who may be expanding their business; helping to ensure that your practices and procedures minimise the risk of investigations. This includes advice on the adoption of due diligence systems.

If things do go wrong, and you are the subject of an investigation, then it is important that you seek advice as quickly as possible. Don’t wait for a Court Summons to arrive before contacting us. We can advise you at the very outset of an investigation, making clear the authorities’ powers, and the limits of those powers. We can give you tactical advice during the lifetime of the investigation and support you through the process. This also includes representing you at any voluntary interview that is arranged, and liaising closely with the authorities on your behalf, if necessary.

We provide advice in relation to:

  • Food Hygiene Regulations (in both England and Wales)
  • Food labelling
  • Food fraud
  • Improvement Notices.

You should also bear in mind that, depending on the nature of your business, you may need to be licensed for the provision of alcohol or for late night refreshments. For further information on this area, you can find out more about our Licensing services.

Key contact

Justin Davies

Legal Director

Justin Davies has specialised in criminal and regulatory law since qualification in 2007. He has particular experience of regulatory criminal proceedings instituted by Local Authorities and other non-police agencies, and spent time as a specialist regulatory prosecutor at Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, advising and prosecuting on behalf of its trading standards, public/environmental health and counter-fraud departments. Justin now practises in regulatory, corporate crime and allied areas, acting for both prosecution and defence. Justin holds (and regularly exercises) Higher Rights of Audience in Criminal Proceedings, which allows him to represent clients before the higher criminal courts.

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