Out-of-date food offences

Following Tesco’s hefty food safety fine in April 2021 for out-of-date food offences, Brackenbury’s client reflects on the reasons behind the sentencing and why it will serve as a regulatory compliance warning for all businesses.

On Monday April 19th 2021 at Birmingham Magistrates Court, Tesco Stores Ltd was fined a record £7.65million for selling out of date food in three stores. Tesco admitted 22 breaches of Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations between 2016-2017. This is the highest ever food safety fine awarded by a UK Court for out of date food offences.

Out of date food offences were capped at £5,000 per offence in the Magistrates’ Court until 2015.  The judge’s starting point in this case was an eye-catching £10million for one offence; a dramatic increase of 200,000% in six years.  The Court’s intention was to send a warning shot to food businesses across the country – the fine level in this case will cause concern at board level in the food sector and well beyond, including all businesses with regulatory compliance obligations, such as health, safety and environmental responsibilities.  Companies with a turnover exceeding £50 million will pay particular note, and the areas of regulatory risk going forward.

In this article for Food Matters Magazine,  Brackenbury’s client examines the several points of interest in relation to this case and the high level of fine imposed. You can read the full version of the article. You can read the full version on their website.