What does due diligence mean in food safety?

All food businesses in the UK must follow the food hygiene practices and systems put in place by food safety regulations – for a number of reasons. It’s essential for making sure the food you provide is safe for consumption. In order to prove that you are meeting regulations it’s recommended to keep in-depth records of the food safety systems that you have in place. Adhering to a suitable Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system is the ideal way to provide evidence for this, and can be a sufficient defence against legal issues under the Food Safety Act 1990. It is there to be seen and can prove that your business has applied every precaution and due diligence to avoid committing any offence.

The Food Safety Act states that a business has a due diligence defence if:

1. They have carried out all reasonable checks of their food in all the circumstances or it was reasonable for them to rely on checks carried out by the person who supplied the food.

2. The offence was due to an act or default of another person who was not under the business’s control, or due to reliance on information supplied by this person. For example, if they needed to inform the business of an allergy.

3. They had no reason to suspect that an act or omission would result in an offence under the relevant provision.

How to show due diligence in your food business:

The best way to prove due diligence in your business is with food safety systems records. In particular, records of your food safety practices and HACCP procedures will demonstrate compliance. They show that a business aims to follow the necessary safety standards and procedures to make food safe for consumption. There are different food safety HACCP systems available – all depending on a particular business size, and what services they provide

If you run any type of food business, you are legally obliged to have a plan in place based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles. The HACCP process keeps your food safe from biological, chemical, and physical food safety hazards. To set up a HACCP procedure for your business, you must:

  • identify any hazards that must be avoided, removed, or reduced
  • identify the points when and where you need to prevent, remove or reduce a hazards
  • set limits for these points and make sure you monitor these points regularly
  • Actively resolve issues that arise with the points
  • put checks in place to make sure your HACCP plan is effective
  • keep records

This course is based upon the HACCP principles and details why a HACCP system must be in place, and how to create one. Completing the Level Two HACCP Awareness course ensures that your business has been sufficiently educated to practice due diligence. This Level 2 HACCP course is targeted towards those who already have the Level 2 Food Hygiene & Safety qualification, and are required by law to be involved in the creation and maintenance of a HACCP system.

Visit essentialfoodhygiene.co.uk to find out more.