The food industry is one which is heavily scrutinised, with tough standards which all vendors and manufacturer must comply with. As a service which is in direct contact with the public, it is important to understand your responsibilities as a business within this industry, whether you are an independent restaurant owner, or a large wholesaler, as you may be liable to criminal charges if you do not comply.
We at Duncan Lewis are up-to-date on all regulations under the Food Safety Act and we are able to support clients who may be facing prosecution and give advice on compliance with food safety and regulation.
If you have had an allegation made against you for breaching food safety and hygiene standards, or had a Hygiene Prohibition Order served on you, we can assist. We advise on initial site inspections and investigative powers, enforcement notices (for example, Hygiene Improvement Notices and Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notices) and PACE interviews under caution.
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Since Food Safety offences have recently been added into the Sentencing Council Definitive Guideline, potential penalties for non-compliance are now higher than ever before. The sanctions that a local authority can impose are quite significant, often depending upon the revenue of the business. Depending upon its size, the fines imposed could reach millions of pounds and impede businesses operation significantly. There is also a chance that a conviction could be served in the form of a custodial sentence. In extreme cases, where a breach is made in connection with a fatality, a business may have an allegation of corporate manslaughter brought against them.
It is essential to get the right advice at the right time, to get the best possible result when defending an allegation concerning a breach of food safety and hygiene standards.
We are able to assist from the very first stage, prior to an interview under caution by an Environment Health Officer, to ensure you are well prepared. Early instruction can help to minimise the disruption to your business and reduce the risk of heavy sanctions.
Our specialist Criminal Defence lawyers can assist with gathering evidence, providing advice prior to any interview under caution and presenting a proactive case to alleviate the issues that were raised. We have good standing with a number of local authorities who are sometimes willing to negotiate rather than prosecute.
There are Duncan Lewis offices nationwide across England and Wales. We aim for the best possible outcome for clients facing breach of food safety and hygiene allegations.
If you are facing an allegation for breach of food safety and hygiene or for breaching licence regulations, call Duncan Lewis Solicitors to discuss your case on 033 3772 0409.