Food Crime & Incidents

Investigations for Breach of Food Standards

Request

1, The names of the companies and corporations in Scotland that have been investigated by FSS since 2013, and found to be in breach of food health standards and regulations,

2, And those that have been prosecuted,

3, And those currently under investigation.

Please also provide me with information about when each investigation into each company and corporation commenced and concluded.

Please also tell me the location of each company, the outcome of the investigations, the punishments handed out by FSS as a result of the investigations, and the reasons/conclusions for and from each investigation.

Response

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information you have requested because there have been no prosecutions.  An exemption under section 34 (1)(b) (Investigations by Scottish public authorities and proceedings arising out of such investigations) of FOISA applies to the information we do hold. 

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) was established on 1 April 2015, when it took responsibility for the functions previously delivered in Scotland by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).  During the period April 2015 to date, there have been no food hygiene or food standards prosecutions resulting from FSS investigations. 

An exemption under section 34(1)(b) of FOISA applies to the information you have requested.  This exemption applies to information that has been held for the purposes of an investigation, conducted by the authority, which may lead to the authority deciding to make a report to the procurator fiscal (PF) to decide whether criminal proceedings should be instituted (section 34(1)(b)).

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’.  Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.  We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption.  We recognise that there is some public interest in release because of the public interest in openness and transparency in the operation of public authorities.  However, this is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring that Food Standards Scotland’s investigation process is not compromised.

You may find the following information, which is provided outside of the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act, helpful for clarification.  FSS does not have authority to decide whether cases will be prosecuted: in Scotland, that decision rests with the Procurator Fiscal.

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