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Seizure, Prohibition, Forfeiture & Destruction… does the FSA have the power?

A Birmingham based meat supplier finds itself in a very difficult position – what powers does the FSA have, and how might this affect you as a customer?

“It has been widely reported that the FSA are currently investigating a Birmingham based meat supplier, as they believe that there has been serious non-compliance with food hygiene regulations. Not only is this site being investigated, but all of its sites across the country, and other locations where products are stored, are being inspected.

All production has been stopped from leaving sites, and any products in the food supply chain have been withdrawn.

The FSA and local authorities have a wide range of powers, and in an incident like this they will heavily rely upon The Food Safety Act 1990. Part 2 of the Act is where the powers are provided. Any food which is suspected to be injurious to health or non-compliant with safety regulations can be seized. Improvement notices and prohibition notices can be served which require something to be improved or stopped, i.e. improvement to hygiene conditions and additional training to staff, or prohibition as to the use of particular machinery.

These circumstances are thankfully quite rare, but those operating in all aspects of the food industry should have a contingency plan in place. Whether it is having back up suppliers to hand, so choices on menus aren’t affected or having contractual clauses in supplier contracts for remuneration of product costs, its always worth having quick PR communications to hand, as although you might not be the supplier/manufacturer, any large brand will quickly be picked upon by the press (in this circumstance, Wetherspoons, Jamie’s Italian etc have already be named as associated with this) and could suffer brand damage. Where possible audits of suppliers, or detailed due diligence should be carried out, to ensure that your supply chain is in order.”

For further information on this or any other legal related issues contact Associate Hannah Price 0115 953 8500.

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