> New UK Food Safety Sentencing Guidelines Used in Barnsley Case - The Food Safety Company New UK Food Safety Sentencing Guidelines Used in Barnsley Case - The Food Safety Company
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    Monday, 14 November 2016

    New UK Food Safety Sentencing Guidelines Used in Barnsley Case

    This week, Al-Ummah Halal Poultry Ltd in Barnsley was sentenced under the new food safety guidelines that were brought into effect February 2016. The company pleaded guilty to eleven offences and was found not guilty of another six at Barnsley Magistrates Court. The case is one of the first of only a small number of FSA prosecutions to be sentenced under the new Sentencing Council Guideline on Food Safety and Hygiene Offences.

    The Al-Ummah Poultry Plant   -   Img source: Pontefract and Castleford Express
    The company runs a poultry slaughterhouse in Barnsley, and they were fined £22,000 under these new guidelines, which lay out how much a company can be fined based on the business’ turnover and the level of culpability. Al-Ummah Halal Poultry pled guilty on eleven offences, including failure to:
    • Remove viscera from poultry carcasses after slaughter
    • Prevent spillage of digestive tract contents onto poultry
    • Comply with a Remedial Action Notice that was served regarding improper evisceration

    Heather Hancock, the FSA Chair, stated: “We welcome the outcome of this prosecution and thank everyone involved in bringing the company to justice. This case brought to light a woeful failure by the company to protect public health and food safety. Thankfully, no serious incident was caused as a result of their actions.

    “We are serious about prosecuting businesses that fail to uphold acceptable standards of food safety. This sentence sends a clear message to all food producers: having an effective food safety management system to avoid contamination is paramount.”

    Al-Ummah Halal Poultry has a history of run-ins with the authorities, having been found in 2013 to be employing eight Pakistani men with expired visas, and a failed asylum seeker from Afghanistan.

    The Sentencing Council Guideline on Food Safety and Hygiene Offences was published in November 2015, and brought into force from February 1st 2016. It forms some of the most notable changes to health and safety legislation since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act in 1974. The guidelines outline a 9-step process for the court to follow in order to calculate sentences using a series of tables, for example:

    Sentencing Council Guidelines
    The general reaction to the new guidelines was that they were rather strict, with increased fines across the board. However, food safety cases can be very complex and quite uncommon, so there was also appreciation at the level of detail in the guidelines, allowing them to lead officials through the sentencing process.

    The number of cases they’ve been used in is still small, so their true impact remains to be seen, but it’s good that the FSA is catching those businesses, like Al-Ummah Halal Poultry Limited, that flout food safety guidelines and put the public’s safety at risk.

    Sam Franklin

    With a master’s in Literature, Sam inhales books and anything readable, spending his working hours reformulating the info he gathers into digestible articles. When not reading or writing, he likes to put his camera to work around the world, snapping street photography from Stockholm to Tokyo. Too much of this time spent in Japan teaching English has nurtured a weakness for sashimi, Japanese whisky, and robot cafés.
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