Page 1 of 5 FORESIGHT Thinking ahead – Food and Drink October 2015 Page 2 of 5 Here to help This edition of Foresight outlines legislative and regulatory changes relating to Food and Drink which we expect to come into effect in the next 18 months. With a little Foresight, Walker Morris can help you plan ahead. Page 3 of 5 2015/16 Sentencing Guidelines The Sentencing Council consulted earlier in the year on new draft guidelines for sentencing for food safety offences. This is the first time food safety offences have been included in a sentencing guideline. The proposed guidelines have the potential to impact most food sector businesses. If the final version of the guidelines reflects the proposals, the level of fines that food companies may face could far outweigh anything seen before, with the potential to impact profitability even before account is taken of reputational damage. We have written before on the importance of effective record-keeping and due diligence throughout the supply chain. 1 October 2015 Information on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedures The Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015 come into force. All businesses selling to consumers, whether or not they use ADR, must give the consumer information about an appropriate ADR provider in their sector and inform the consumer whether the business will use ADR. The information only needs to be provided after the business' internal procedure has failed to resolve the dispute. For more on the new regulations, see our earlier article. January 2016 Food waste Drafting and presentation to Parliament of the Food Waste (Reduction) Bill, intended to tackle food waste by requiring businesses to donate unsold food and publish annual accounts of food waste created throughout the supply chain. The draft Bill will also set targets for the reduction of food waste. March 2016 Groceries Code The role and performance of the Groceries Code Adjudicator is due to be statutorily reviewed. It would be a surprise if the review resulted in major changes to the role of the Adjudicator. It is possible that, if anything, the Page 4 of 5 Adjudicator may emerge from the review emboldened. April 2016 National Living Wage The National Living Wage comes into effect. It is set at £7.20 per hour for its first year. The Low Pay Commission has been tasked with setting the figure for April 2017. The Government says it hopes for a figure above £9 per hour by 2020. 2016 Payment practices The UK Government consulted over the summer on the establishment of a Small Business Commissioner, with a remit to investigate complaints about unfair business practices and, in particular, to tackle unacceptable payment practices. The Small Business Commissioner will also offer mediation services to help resolve disputes quickly without the need to go to court. The Government is clearly committed to tackling late payment (see our earlier article on this) so we can expect the Small Business Commissioner to be up and running by 2016. 2016 Immigration Bill The Immigration Bill should become law next year. Under the current proposals, employers found to have employed an illegal worker may face a penalty of up to £20,000 if they are not able to demonstrate that they have carried out the requisite documentation checks. There is also a proposal to introduce a financial levy on employers using migrant labour and to oblige employers to advertise positions in the UK before doing so overseas. Takeaways and off-licences could lose their licences if they are found to have employed illegal workers. 2016 Modern Slavery Following the entry into force of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, large food and drink companies must audit their supply chains, in the UK and overseas, to enable effective reporting in accordance with the Act's detailed requirements. We have written about this previously. Page 5 of 5 13 December 2016 Food labelling Mandatory inclusion in the prescribed format of nutritional statements for all prepackaged food. 2017 Trade secrets The new EU Trade Secrets Directive is expected to be approved later this year, following which Member States will have two years to implement its provisions into national law. The Directive will set a minimum benchmark for trade secret provision across the EU – a welcome improvement on the current position where some Member States offer only very modest protection. The Directive provides a definition of "trade secret", which includes a requirement that the material in question has been subject to reasonable steps to keep it secret. With that in mind, Food and Drink companies should begin reviewing their procedures for safeguarding trade secrets, including contractual arrangements and processes throughout the supply chain and confidentiality and post-termination provisions in contracts of employment. If you would like to receive more copies of this briefing, or would like to receive Walker Morris briefings from particular practice areas, or would like to be taken off the distribution lists for such briefings, please email email@example.com or call Jillian Szajko in Marketing on +44 (0)113 283 2500. You can also contact us to say whether you would prefer to receive these publications in a printed or electronic format. © Walker Morris LLP 2015. The content of this briefing does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Specific advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. The information contained in this edition of Foresight is stated as of 10 September 2015. Direct contact Walker Morris LLP Kings Court 12 King Street Leeds LS1 2HL T+44 (0)113 283 2500 F+44 (0)113 245 9412 www.walkermorris.co.uk Richard Naish, Partner, Corporate +44 (0)113 283 4415 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thinking ahead – food and drink - October 2015
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