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Food execs could face jail for repeat of horse meat scandal

01 February 2016

Food industry professionals could in future face jail for putting consumers at risk, under new sentencing guidelines introduced today.

The rules, introduced to England and Wales, mean that individuals could face unlimited fines and two years in jail for actions deemed to have caused harm or risk of harm to the public. 

The new guidelines have been introduced to tackle ‘food fraud’ in the wake of the 2013 horse meat scandal. 

Professor Tony Hines, Director of Regulatory and Crisis Management at Leatherhead Food Research, said the onus was on food manufacturers more firmly than ever before. 

“By its very nature, food fraud undermines food safety protocols,” said Hines. 

“And from today, individuals who fail to maintain food safety face stiffer penalties. Senior managers and directors have a personal duty of care to reduce exposure to fraud since it can be clearly associated with causing harm or risk of harm. 

“That means insisting on greater transparency and traceability to identify weak points in the supply chain, then implementing proactive control measures to curtail the threat.” 

The new guidelines were incorporated on Feb 1 into Issue 7 of the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety.

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