24 Jan 2019 What is Due Diligence in Food Safety?
Food safety regulations need to be strictly adhered to if you work in this industry. You may have come across the term due diligence with regards to food safety, but what does this mean exactly?
Due diligence meaning
Due diligence in food safety means that you’re doing everything reasonably possible to prevent a food safety breach from occurring. It can be used to prove that you are following food safety laws.
Due diligence was created to give defendants in legal disputes fairness and a degree of protection. It has been used in trading standards and health and safety regulation but was incorporated into the Food Safety Act (FSA) in 1990.
If a food safety issue arises in your business that results in legal action, such as reports of food poisoning, you will need to prove to the court that you took all reasonable care and precaution to prevent this from happening.
Following due diligence
In order to prove that you are following due diligence in food safety, you need to keep written records and documentation. Providing evidence based on the spoken word only is not an adequate defence for due diligence.
Following a suitable Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system and keeping food safety records is the most effective way to prove due diligence. Records can be kept on paper or online and should include procedures to prevent cross-contamination, temperature checks, waste disposal, equipment maintenance procedures, cleaning and hygiene, labelling procedures (especially with regards to potential allergens), pest control and documentation of all suppliers.
Food businesses have a due diligence defence if they have carried out all relevant checks, or if a breach was not under their control, such as if key information was not supplied to the food business that resulted in the breach.
Businesses should also ensure they carry out frequent food risk assessments and obtain the relevant training from food safety consultants to ensure up-to-date compliance.
Food businesses that are not able to prove due diligence through the careful recording of relevant data face damaging consequences. Aside from a hefty fine, the business may end up closing its doors, with its reputation in tatters.
Contact us to help you with your due diligence defence mechanisms including real-time electronic systems