Licensed premises frequently encounter issues surrounding health and safety, food safety, food labelling and other regulatory requirements such as weights and measures. The team at Woods Whur have between them built up significant expertise in advising on these areas and also in defending prosecutions under the health and safety and food safety legislation.

Picture1 chefLicensed premises need to be aware of their obligations to carry out due diligence to ensure that they fulfil the requirements of the health and safety legislation in relation not only to their employees but also to their customers and other members of the public. In the event of an incident occurring, the company and individual directors and managers may face prosecution by the Health and Safety Inspectorate or the Police. We are well-versed in reviewing and advising on policies and procedures to establish due diligence and in helping operators who are facing improvement or prohibition notices to put them in the best possible position to comply, or to appeal in appropriate cases. We also have experience of representing operators facing an interview under caution and of defending prosecutions in order to achieve the best possible outcome for the business. A recent case involved the successful defence of a multi-site operator against a local authority prosecution of a tripping accident involving a member of the public.

We have been involved in┬áseveral cases recently which highlight the importance of not only ensuring that all policies and procedures are up to date and correct, but also of involving us at the earliest possible opportunity. The best approach would be to get us to undertake an audit of your current ‘set-up’, to ensure compliance. This would give you confidence that you have all matters covered and would also be part of any due diligence defence if you were investigated. If you have not instructed us previously but are subject to an investigation, then you must involve us at any interview with Enforcement Officers and in any correspondence with those Officers. In two of the cases we have recently dealt with, which were significantly different, (one related to the labelling of products and the other to inadequate policies and bad practice) neither client was prosecuted, and instead, received a written warning. In both instances we became involved after an initial visit, advised on immediate action to be taken and on responses to be given to the Enforcement Officers during interview. In a third case, by contrast, we did not become involved until after the interviews and after summonses had been issued and all we could do was to put forward mitigation about the offences to the Magistrates.

Food law is an ever-widening, intricate and fast-changing field. The Food Safety Act 1990 and associated Regulations set down a great many potential offences. We have represented a broad range of food businesses including manufacturers, processors, retailers and caterers on food safety and hygiene issues, including drafting HACCP and other policies and procedures, advising on enforcement action, representing clients at interview and defending prosecutions. We have particular expertise in cases where several prosecutions have been brought simultaneously, evaluating the evidence and analysing the roles of directors, managers and staff to arrive at the most favourable result overall.

Food labelling is another area of the law which is constantly growing and evolving and, again, we’ve advised manufacturers and retailers on their obligations, including those arising from the new rules surrounding allergens.

Please contact Anna Mathias on 07767 782997 or anna@woodswhur.co.uk if you would like further information.