But if that is not enough incentive to get things right, the Food Standards Agency is also now publishing an interactive map showing those who have been prosecuted and convicted of food-related offences at www.food.gov.uk/enforcement/prosecutions which in turn leads to a downloadable spreadsheet for anyone to see details of court charges and the penalties imposed.
The HSE says the objective is primarily to knowledge-share among enforcement authorities but it is also for the benefit of consumers. The FSA will regularly update the content of the database, but will ensure that cases that may be subject to appeal are not published before the outcome of the appeal, by allowing 28 days after the date of conviction before a case is added.
The Health and Safety Offences, Corporate Manslaughter and Food Safety and Hygiene Offences: Definitive Guideline will come into force from 1 February 2016 and cover offences committed under Regulation 19(1) of the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 and the corresponding regulations in Wales.
Offences covered include food poisoning caused by unsafe food preparation and poor hygiene, misleading labelling, and failing to ensure traceability of products.
Producers would be well advised to ensure they keep good records of goods they supply to foodstuff producers who will be keen to demonstrate traceability, and possibly shift blame, if they face a prosecution.