As a business owner you need to ensure you are not contributing to this figure.
If you, the food business owner, are found guilty of causing a food poisoning incident there are two likely consequences you will have to face:
- A criminal prosecution brought about by the local enforcement team with consequences of:
Fines of up to £20,000 per offense
Up to 6 months imprisonment
A civil case brought against you by the affected persons. In a civil case the outcomes are less certain. The Judicial Studies Board, an advisory body of judges, has recently issued guidelines on amounts payable for food poisoning:
For relatively mild symptoms, such as cramps and diarrhoea for up to a few weeks, £500 to £2,000 will be allowed.
For more serious cases, where some symptoms drag on for a year or so, the figure is £2,000 to £5,000.
- For the rare cases where there is a virtually permanent loss of enjoyment of life, up to £30,000 is recommended, but even that does not represent a ceiling where real and permanent disablement arises.
Civil cases mean that barristers and solicitors have to be employed at costs of anything up to £1000 per day. A case can easily run up costs and awards of hundreds of thousands, or even millions of pounds.
If you are found to not be complying with the law, your insurance company might not cover you as you are not complying with the terms of the policy.
What do I need to know?
The main piece of legislation that relates to this area is the Food Safety Act (1990) as well as various Regulations and Codes of Practice such as Food Law Code of Practice (2012).
The essential information that you need to know is:
All food preparation premises must be registered with the local Environmental Health Office 28 days prior to trading, in the area in which the unit is stored if mobile, or in the area you pay Council tax to.
All persons coming into contact with food must be trained for the job they are doing (the level of training depends on the job) before they are allowed to work in the premises.
You must put in place, implement and maintain a documented Food Safety / Hygiene Management System based on the principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points).
How do I ensure that I operate legally?
You need to ensure that you have the right information, training and systems to operate safely and legally.
NCASS have been operating in this industry for over 30 years and in that time have ‘seen it and done it’.
We’ve used our vast industry experience to design systems and processes specifically to ensure that you are able to operate safely and legally – and they’re all included FREE in your membership.
Here’s how we can help: