Food law

Members of chambers act for businesses and individuals involved with food production, import/export, packaging and retailing, in addition to acting for enforcement agencies across the whole range. We have particular expertise in defending food poisoning cases. We also represent businesses and enforcement agencies in the field of health and safety dealing with cases ranging from minor infringements to fatalities.

Members of chambers have recently been instructed to prosecute cases against manufacturers and supermarkets on the verification of drained weight, governed by the WELMEC guidance, in relation to various tinned foods, including beans and peeled potatoes. These often involve detailed consideration of the due diligence defence.

Notable cases in which members of chambers have been involved include:

  • Wandsworth LBC v Caffe Nero Group Ltd (Wimbledon Magistrates’ court, March 2016): successful due diligence defence; food safety offences; wire in panini ingested by consumer; unauthorised use by employee, in breach of training and systems;
  • R (Kingston upon Hull City Council) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (High Court, 2016): judicial review of endorsement by BIS’ Better Regulation Delivery Office (‘BRDO’) of advice given under the Primary Authority Scheme to Greggs plc, concerning provision of sanitary facilities;
  • Torfaen CBC v Douglas Willis Ltd [2013] UKSC 59: successful appeal to the Supreme Court; food labelling; ‘use by’ dates;
  • Birmingham CC v Tesco Stores Limited [2013]: pricing under CPUT (strawberries);
  • R v Alan Rich Seafoods Limited [2010]: successful prosecution of a food business and its proprietor for serious breaches of the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 and the Animal By Products Regulations 2005;
  • Three Rivers District Council v. Chowdhury [2009] EWHC 268: interpretation of “food business operator”;
  • West Berkshire CC v Childcare (UK) Ltd [2008]: successful defence of nursery; swiss roll allegedly contaminated; cause of salmonella outbreak;
  • R (J Sainsbury Plc) v. Plymouth Magistrates’ Court (2006) 170 JP 690: corporate defendant; wrong defendant;
  • Kilhey Court Hotels Ltd. v. Wigan MBC (2005) 169 JP 1: due diligence defence; person whose default led to commission of offence not included in defence case;
  • Lewin v. Purity Soft Drinks Ltd (2005) 169 J.P. 84: labels on fruit juice; misleading trade descriptions;
  • Harlow District Council v. Greene King Plc [2004] 2 All ER 102: proprietor of food business; group holding company;
  • Nottingham City Council v. Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries Ltd [2004] 1 QB 1274: sale of alcoholic beverages; owner of premises;
  • DEFRA v Asda Stores Ltd (HL) [2004] 1 W.L.R. 105: agricultural produce; direct effect; EC grading rules.

Publications contributed to by members of chambers include:

Chambers takes a stand at the CIEH Conference annually and members regularly give and attend lectures organised by the Institute. For details of our attendance at this year’s Conference please visit our News page. Members of chambers are founding members of, and regularly give lectures to the Food Law Group.

Claire Andrews introduces a new food law blog, “Food Law Conversations”, to which she invites those interested in food law to contribute. The website can be found at foodlawbarrister.com