FSA publishes database of food safety offenders and sentences

Posted by John Mitchell on
The Food Standards Agency has published a database, linked to a map of the UK (although there is no Scottish data) with details of all convictions for food offences in 2015.  

According to the data, a total of 94 defendants paid over £0.5m in fines at an average rate of just over £1,200 per offence. The median total fine was £2,000. The lowest total fine imposed was £65 and the highest fine for a single offence was £16,250.

Comparing these figures with the Sentencing Council's Guidelines on sentencing in food safety case published yesterday makes interesting reading: even if one assumes that none of the businesses sentenced had a turnover of more than £2m, the guideline fine for such organisations ranges from  £100 to £120,000, depending on offence harm and offender culpability. Either the published figures imply that the offences prosecuted were at the lower end of the scale (which seem unlikely given the pressures on local authority resource) or fines are going to increase massively once the Guidelines come into force on 1 February 2016.

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John specialises in risk and compliance, advising businesses in those areas of commercial life where the criminal law or penal sanctions are used to regulate business.

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