Average Food Safety & Hygiene Fines Rise By £4900 Since the introduction of new sentencing guidelines, the number of fines for food safety breaches, has doubled. Statistics released by the Sentencing Council, a government agency established in April 2010. Created by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, it is responsible for developing sentencing guidelines, monitoring the use of guidelines and assessing and reviewing a wide range of decisions relating to sentencing.
The council found that the number of adult food safety and hygiene offences had risen from 180 in 2015, to 260 in 2017. It also highlighted that the organisations that received a fine, in the 10 months since the guidelines introduction, mean the penalty increased by £5000, from £2200 to £7100.
Lord Justice Tim Holroyde, Sentencing Council Chairman, said the law requires that any fine must reflect the seriousness of the offence.
“The council is confident the guideline is achieving this objective and ensuring that where an offence results in the loss of life or very serious injury, fines are sufficiently punitive.”
In January 2018, a Birmingham restaurant was fined £50,000 for serving food on unhygienic wooden boards. These boards may have caused multiple customers to contract food poisoning. This was in addition to a further £670 fine due to staff not washing their hands and inefficient cleaning of the property. Only a matter of months ago, the owners of a Lancashire takeaway were jailed for manslaughter when 15-year-old Megan Lee died after eating a meal containing peanuts.
The premises was found to have no systems or standards in place for controlling allergens .
As this case illustrates, safety isn’t something any business can afford to overlook. The Food Standards Agency estimates that as many as two million people in the UK are living with a diagnosed food allergy, each of which will require protocol to be followed to keep certain ingredients out of –
and away from – food. Failure to follow the required standards can have disastrous effects which could be avoided through a food audit.