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High Risk Foods in Criminal and Civil Cases

Recent draft guidance from the FSA on undercooked burgers requires food businesses to validate their procedures and issue consumer advisory statements. Will those steps assist food businesses in defending against prosecutions and civil claims?

High-risk foods are on the Food Standards Agency's ("FSA") radar, with a 43 page draft guidance published recently on undercooked burgers. It requires food businesses, in certain cases, to validate their procedures to prove a sufficient reduction of risk, and to demonstrate that to the local authority. Food businesses should also issue a 'consumer advisory statement'.

In relation to high-risk foods such as undercooked burgers or oysters, and high-risk practices such as sous-vide, will such steps assist a due diligence defence, in the event of a food safety/hygiene prosecution? Will a consumer advisory statement help defend against civil food poisoning claims?

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This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.