Food Law News - UK - 2013

FSA Local Authority Letter (ENF/E/13/049), 13 December 2013

ENFORCEMENT - Letter to Enforcement Authorities on the Application of the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013 No. 2996)

The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 – SI 2013 No. 2996 - will come into effect on 31 December 2013. These Regulations revoke and re-enact the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 and its amendments and certain provisions of the General Food Regulations 2004 as they apply in England, consolidating all of these into one statutory instrument. A link to the Regulations is provided:

Enforcement Officials need to be aware that enforcement action taken on and from 31 December 2013 will need to reference the new Regulations. We will update model documents so that they reference the new Regulations and will be making the relevant amendments to the Food Law Code of Practice and the Practice Guidance and the Approvals Guidance, as soon as is practical. However, these may not be available before the Regulations come into force, so it is important that in the meantime you update the relevant forms or notices that you use so that from the 31 December onwards they reference the new Regulations.

The re-enactment of the provisions of the two SIs has resulted in a rationalisation of the fines applicable for offences committed under these new Regulations. While this means that for any given food safety or food hygiene offence there is no change to the maximum levels of available fines, it will mean that fines above Level 5 (currently £5,000) can only be imposed by a Crown Court. Magistrates will be able to impose fines up to Level 5 and will have the option of referring matters to the Crown Court for sentencing where they feel that the penalty should exceed that level. The Crown Court will be able still to impose a penalty of up to 2 years imprisonment and /or an unlimited fine.  [Note: For food safety offences under the General Food Regulations the Magistrates courts could impose a maximum fine of £20,000.]

 The table below [see document available at link above] sets out the new references to the offences in SI 2013 No. 2996 and where they were previously contained in SI 2006 No. 14 and SI 2004 No. 3279.

Enforcement officials should note that a new offence has been created (see regulation 37(3)) in order to provide the necessary provisions to enforce the import requirements of Regulation (EU) No 211/2013 in relation to sprouts and seeds intended for sprouting. This has required an additional provision being added to SI 2009 No. 3255 after paragraph (1) of regulation 41 as paragraph (1A).

Enforcers should note that the draft SI issued with the consultation on 3 September contained a provision amending The Food Safety (Sampling & Qualifications) Regulations 2013 which came into force on 6th April 2013, specifying the qualifications necessary to be a public analyst, food analyst or food examiner. This has not been included in the new SI as the amendment is no longer required.

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