Food regulation & compliance

Food regulation & compliance

"Clients highlight its 'high level of service and quality advice' on food safety and regulatory issues, and appreciate that 'its rates are significantly cheaper than London, while the calibre of people is just as good'."

Chambers UK

Food businesses operate in one of the most highly regulated sectors in in the UK, Europe and globally.

Large-scale food safety incidents - including malicious tampering with products - can have widespread effects and damage consumer confidence in retail, distribution and manufacturing brands.

Having advised global food businesses, major brands and distributors for many years, and with one of the leading reputations in food law in the legal industry, our team of food experts recognise that it is absolutely essential for all businesses to deal with every aspect of food safety and hygiene; from equipment purchasing and HACCP programmes to labeling and retailing.

Equally important are the relationships with other manufacturers, distributors, ingredient suppliers, retailers and the regulators. Where issues arise it can often be that the preservation of a relationship is one of the most important factors for a business to consider.

Getting to understand your business and the issues you face on a day-to-day basis underpin how our lawyers approach advising on all aspects of food law.

We have particular expertise in assisting businesses with crisis management and product recalls, a field in which the actions that a business takes early on can have a strong influence on the outcome of any associated regulatory investigation.

Increasingly, food businesses are being challenged to demonstrate their 'compliance' record, so it is important for businesses to avoid regulatory intervention, including formal notices, cautions or prosecutions.

We have successfully appealed formal notices and defended a number of organisations and individuals from prosecutions that could have had a significant impact on their future work and business development.

The experience within our team means we can provide a complete legal advisory service to food businesses at all levels, including:

  • ingredient labeling and product information
  • keeping up with new regulations
  • advising on food contact materials and manufacturing
  • country of origin, food advertising and nutritional claims
  • safety and hygiene advice
  • response and defence in the event of notices being served
  • training on crisis management and due diligence systems
  • liaising with the Food Standards Agency and food law regulators
  • consumer complaints
  • dealing with the public fallout of true and malicious safety alerts

We are also retained as legal counsel to the ICCA, the Association of Consumer Care Professionals in the food and personal care industries.

Work highlights

  • Reviewing a global confectionery brand's labeling from a consumer protection perspective regarding 'marketing' claims and nutritional information
  • Acting for a company and director following a local authority investigation into mislabeling of protein powders. Following the initial 20 charges, we successfully negotiated a caution against the company, ensured no further case against the director, and dealt with an inflated civil claim from the retailer, resulting in a 10% payout
  • Providing advice and support which resulted in successfully avoiding prosecution of a multi-national catering organisation following an environmental heath investigation into rodent infestation and food safety practices
  • Representing the manager of a national restaurant chain concerning 10 charges arising out of the alleged sale of unfit food
  • Advising a major food equipment manufacturer on safety and EU/global standards across its products