The Food Safety Act Explained

What is the Food Safety Act?

The Food Safety Act 1990 is a vital part of environmental law and is an act that all food businesses in the UK must comply with. The overarching objective of the Food Safety Act is to protect consumers from consuming food that could be harmful to their health.

Any business that is involved with food, whether that’s preparing it, labelling it, transporting it, storing it or selling it, must follow the Food Safety Act carefully. Such businesses include restaurants, food production factories, cafes, local bakeries and cafeterias.

Failure to follow the Food Safety Act, and selling or advertising food that does not comply with safe food legislation, is an offence that could result in a fine or prison sentence.

Food Safety Act Summary

The following bullet points act as a Food Safety Act summary, outlining the key pieces of food legislation that businesses must adhere to:

  • Ensure that nothing is added to, or removed from, food that could damage the health of the consumer.
  • Ensure that food is not treated or processed in any way that could cause damage to the health of the consumer.
  • Ensure that food served or sold to a consumer is of the nature, substance and quality that the consumer would expect.
  • Ensure that food is labelled correctly, and is not advertised or presented in a way that is false or misleading.
  • Ensure that good food hygiene practices are carried out, including the proper hygienic maintenance of a premise.
  • Ensure that proper food management systems are in place and followed, including labelling, record keeping and staff training.

What is the Food Hygiene Act?

Food hygiene is a key component of food safety. The Food Hygiene Regulations 2013 were introduced in line with the EU Hygiene Regulations 178/2002. Food businesses must ensure that proper food hygiene practices are followed carefully. The Food Hygiene Act encompasses the following:

  • Ensure that good personal hygiene is maintained by all, this includes effective handwashing, proper illness procedures and use of protective clothing.
  • Ensure that thorough cleaning procedures are maintained throughout the premise.
  • Ensure that food is stored safely, in the appropriate temperatures and with the correct labelling.
  • Ensure the allergenic foods are clearly labelled and prevented from cross-contaminating other food.
  • Ensure the food is cooked at the appropriate temperature to remove the risk of harmful bacteria.

Who Regulates Food Legislation?

The Food Safety Act and the Food Hygiene Regulations 2013 give the relevant authorities power to regulate and enforce the legislation. The Food Standards Agency is responsible for regulating food legislation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

An authorised officer from your local council or an Environmental Health Officer can come and inspect your food business premise, records and procedures at any point. You’re unlikely to be informed of an officer’s visit in order to prevent you from making temporary changes for the inspection.

Expert Lawyer for Food Safety

Following the Food Safety Act and the Food Hygiene Act are vital for any business in the food industry. If your client has been accused of breaching food legislation, get in touch with an expert lawyer for food safety at St Paul’s Chambers.

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