5. Individuals: Breach of food safety and food hygiene
Step 4 – Consider any factors which indicate a reduction, such as assistance to the prosecution
The court should take into account sections 73 and 74 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (assistance by defendants: reduction or review of sentence) and any other rule of law by virtue of which an offender may receive a discounted sentence in consequence of assistance given (or offered) to the prosecutor or investigator.
Step 5 – Reduction for guilty pleas
The court should take account of any potential reduction for a guilty plea in accordance with section 144 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and the Guilty Plea guideline.
Step 6 – Compensation and ancillary orders
Ancillary orders In all cases the court must consider whether to make ancillary orders. These may include:
Hygiene Prohibition Order These orders are available under both the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 and the Food Hygiene (Wales) Regulations 2006.
If the court is satisfied that the health risk condition in Regulation 7(2) is fulfilled it shall impose the appropriate prohibition order in Regulation 7(3).
Where a food business operator is convicted of an offence under the Regulations and the court thinks it proper to do so in all the circumstances of the case, the court may impose a prohibition on the operator pursuant to Regulation 7(4). An order under Regulation 7(4) is not limited to cases where there is an immediate risk to public health; the court might conclude that there is such a risk of some future breach of the regulations or the facts of any particular offence or combination of offences may alone justify the imposition of a Hygiene Prohibition Order. In deciding whether to impose an order the court will want to consider the history of convictions or a failure to heed warnings or advice in deciding whether an order is proportionate to the facts of the case. Deterrence may also be an important consideration.
Disqualification of director An offender may be disqualified from being a director of a company in accordance with section 2 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986. The maximum period of disqualification is 15 years (Crown Court) or 5 years (magistrates’ court).
Where the offence results in loss or damage the court must consider whether to make a compensation order. If compensation is awarded, priority should be given to the payment of compensation over payment of any other financial penalty where the means of the offender are limited.
Where the offender does not have sufficient means to pay the total financial penalty considered appropriate by the court, compensation and fine take priority over prosecution costs.