How does UK food safety law operate?

UK Food Safety Law

From our recently published White Paper on ‘Why food safety records matter’, we’re taking a look at how food safety law operates in the UK.


The basis of UK food safety law is the ‘Due Diligence Defence’ system. The food business operator (defined as the owner or ‘controlling mind’ of the business) is required to conduct a formal and technically verifiable food safety risk assessment of their food production, storage and distribution operations (which may include contracting this activity, but not the legal responsibility for it, to a third-party expert).

The food safety risk assessment system of choice is HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) and any other risk assessment system employed must embrace the principles of HACCP. There are many commercial risk assessment systems, most of which relate to operator and environmental safety. HACCP is unique among these in being specific to the food industry and in focusing upon consumer safety.

All critical control points identified in every HACCP plan must be controlled by verifiable control measures, which must be clearly defined in operational procedures.

Records must be kept, in some form, of the diligent implementation of every identified food safety critical control point (CCP), and securely stored for future reference and use in Court. Falsified records could be regarded as an offence of organizational fraud.

Without appropriate and accurate records there would be no method of proving ‘due diligence’ i.e. that critical food safety controls had been identified and implemented.

You can download the full White Paper here: Why Food Safety Records Matter: An Introduction to UK Food Law and the Records it Requires


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