Food Update: New Sentencing Guideline for Health & Safety, Corporate Manslaughter and Food Safety & Hygiene Offences

Businesses should be left in no doubt about the stringent application of new sentencing guidelines when it comes to Health & Safety, Corporate Manslaughter and Food Safety & Hygiene offences. Setting fines 

Degree of culpability - to establish whether culpability is low, medium, high or very high the court will consider a number of factors - including what measures were put in place; the extent of which failures ran through different levels of the organisation and whether there were any warning signs indicating a risk to health and safety.

Level of harm - this requires the court to consider the risk of harm created by the offence, including a number of issues such as whether the offence exposed a number of people to the risk of harm or whether there was significant actual harm.

Company turnover - this will be the starting point for a fine within a category range; large being £50m or over, medium £10m-£50m, small £2m-£10m and micro turnover less than £2m.Degree of culpability - a number of factors will be considered including failure to put in place recognised industry standards, ignoring concerns of regulators and the length of time of breach.Level of harm - similar issues to those outlined for health and safety offences will be considered - but will also include whether consumers have been misled regarding food compliance with religious and personal beliefs.

Company turnover - companies are categorised in the same way as for health and safety offences.

Mitigating and aggravating factors no previous convictions or no relevant/recent convictions evidence of steps taken voluntarily to remedy the problem and procedures in place.poor health and safety record breach of a court order previous convictions having regards to the nature of the offence to which the conviction relates and its relevance to the current offence.Increased fines

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.