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The Food Hygiene Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005

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PART 3ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT

Procurement of samples

12.  An authorised officer may—

(a)purchase a sample of any food, or any substance capable of being used in the preparation of food;

(b)take a sample of any food, or any such substance, which—

(i)appears to him to be intended for placing on the market or to have been placed on the market, for human consumption, or

(ii)is found by him on or in any premises which he is authorised to enter by or under regulation 14;

(c)take a sample from any food source, or a sample of any contact material, which is found by him on or in any such premises; and

(d)take a sample of any article or substance which is found by him on or in any such premises and which he has reason to believe may be required as evidence in proceedings under any of the provisions of these Regulations.

Analysis etc. of samples

13.—(1) An authorised officer who has procured a sample under regulation 12 shall—

(a)if he considers that the sample should be analysed, submit it to be analysed—

(i)by the public analyst for the district in which the sample was procured, or

(ii)by the public analyst for the district which consists of or includes the district of the council;

(b)if he considers that the sample should be examined, submit it to be examined by a food examiner.

(2) A person, other than such an officer, who has purchased any food, or any substance capable of being used in the preparation of food, may submit a sample of it—

(a)to be analysed by the public analyst for the district in which the purchase was made; or

(b)to be examined by a food examiner.

(3) If, in any case where a sample is proposed to be submitted for analysis under this regulation, the office of public analyst for the district in question is vacant, the sample shall be submitted to the public analyst for some other district.

(4) If, in any case where a sample is proposed to be or is submitted for analysis or examination under this regulation, the food analyst or examiner determines that he is for any reason unable to perform the analysis or examination, the sample shall be submitted or, as the case may be, sent by him to such other food analyst or examiner as he may determine.

(5) A food analyst or examiner shall analyse or examine as soon as practicable any sample submitted or sent to him under this regulation, but may, except where—

(a)he is the public analyst for the district in question; and

(b)the sample is submitted to him for analysis by an authorised officer,

demand in advance the payment of such reasonable fee as he may require.

(6) Any food analyst or examiner who has analysed or examined a sample shall give to the person by whom it was submitted a certificate specifying the result of the analysis or examination.

(7) Any certificate given by a food analyst or examiner under paragraph (6) shall be signed by him, but the analysis or examination may be made by any person acting under his direction.

(8) In any proceedings under these Regulations, the production by one of the parties—

(a)of a document purporting to be a certificate given by a food analyst or examiner under paragraph (6); or

(b)of a document supplied to him by the other party as being a copy of such a certificate,

shall be sufficient evidence of the facts stated in it unless, in a case falling within sub-paragraph (a), the other party requires that the food analyst or examiner shall be called as a witness.

(9) In this regulation where two or more public analysts are appointed for any district, any reference in these Regulations to the public analyst for that district shall be construed as a reference to either or any of them.

Powers of entry

14.—(1) An authorised officer of the district council, shall, on producing, if so required, some duly authenticated document showing his authority, have a right at all reasonable hours—

(a)to enter any premises within his district for the purpose of ascertaining whether there is or has been on the premises any contravention of the provisions of the Hygiene Regulations;

(b)to enter any premises for the purpose of ascertaining whether there is on the premises any evidence of any such contravention within his district; and

(c)to enter any premises for the purpose of the performance of their functions under the Hygiene Regulations,

but admission to any premises used only as a private dwelling-house shall not be demanded as of right unless 24 hours' notice of the intended entry has been given to the occupier.

(2) An authorised officer of the Agency shall, on producing if so required some duly authenticated document showing his authority, have a right at all reasonable hours to enter any premises for the purpose of—

(a)ascertaining whether there is or has been on the premises any contravention of the provisions of the Hygiene Regulations;

(b)ascertaining whether there is on the premises any evidence of any such contravention; and

(c)the performance by the Agency of its functions under the Hygiene Regulations,

but admission to any premises used only as a private dwelling-house shall not be demanded as of right unless 24 hours' notice of the intended entry has been given to the occupier.

(3) If a lay magistrate, on sworn information in writing, is satisfied that there is reasonable ground for entry onto any premises for any purpose as is mentioned in paragraph (1) or (2) and either—

(a)that admission to the premises has been refused, or a refusal is apprehended, and that notice of the intention to apply for a warrant has been given to the occupier; or

(b)that an application for admission, or the giving of such a notice, would defeat the object of the entry, or that the case is one of urgency, or that the premises are unoccupied or the occupier is temporarily absent,

the lay magistrate may by warrant signed by him authorise the authorised officer to enter the premises, if need be by reasonable force.

(4) Every warrant granted under this regulation shall continue in force for a period of one month.

(5) An authorised officer entering any premises by virtue of this regulation, or of a warrant issued under it, may take with him such other persons as he considers necessary, and on leaving any unoccupied premises which he has entered by virtue of such a warrant shall leave them as effectively secured against unauthorised entry as he found them.

(6) An authorised officer entering premises by virtue of this regulation, or of a warrant issued under it, may inspect any records (in whatever form they are held) relating to a food business and, where any such records are stored in any electronic form—

(a)may have access to, and inspect and check the operation of, any computer and any associated apparatus or material which is or has been in use in connection with the records; and

(b)may require any person having charge of, or otherwise concerned with the operation of, the computer, apparatus or material to afford him such assistance as he may reasonably require.

(7) Any officer exercising any power conferred by paragraph (6) may—

(a)seize and detain any records which he has reason to believe may be required as evidence in proceedings under any of the provisions of these Regulations; and

(b)where the records are stored in any electronic form, require the records to be produced in a form in which they may be taken away.

(8) If any person who enters any premises by virtue of this regulation, or of a warrant issued under it, discloses to any person any information obtained by him on the premises with regard to any trade secret, he shall, unless the disclosure was made in the performance of his duty, be guilty of an offence.

(9) Nothing in this regulation authorises any person, except with the permission of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development under the Diseases of Animals (Northern Ireland) Order 1981(1), to enter any premises—

(a)in which there is kept an animal or bird affected or, with good reason, suspected of being affected with any disease to which that Order of 1981 applies; and

(b)which is situated in a place declared under the Order of 1981 to be infected with such a disease.

Obstruction etc. of officers

15.—(1) Any person who—

(a)intentionally obstructs any person acting in the execution of the Hygiene Regulations; or

(b)without reasonable cause, fails to give to any person acting in the execution of the Hygiene Regulations any assistance or information which that person may reasonably require of him for the performance of his functions under the Hygiene Regulations,

shall be guilty of an offence.

(2) Any person who, in purported compliance with any such requirement as is mentioned in paragraph (1)(b)—

(a)furnishes information which he knows to be false or misleading in a material particular; or

(b)recklessly furnishes information which is false or misleading in a material particular,

shall be guilty of an offence.

(3) Nothing in paragraph (1)(b) shall be construed as requiring any person to answer any question or give any information if to do so might incriminate him.

Time limit for prosecutions

16.  No prosecution for an offence under these Regulations which is punishable under regulation 17(2) shall be begun after the expiry of—

(a)three years from the commission of the offence; or

(b)one year from its discovery by the prosecution,

whichever is the earlier.

Offences and penalties

17.—(1) Subject to paragraph (4), any person who contravenes any of the specified Community provisions shall be guilty of an offence.

(2) Subject to paragraph (3), a person guilty of an offence under these Regulations shall be liable—

(a)on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum; or

(b)on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, to a fine or to both.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under regulation 15 shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to both.

(4) A person shall be considered not to have contravened Article 4(2) of Regulation 852/2004 as read with paragraph 4 of Chapter IV of Annex II to that Regulation (bulk foodstuffs in liquid, granulate or powder form to be transported in receptacles and/or containers/tankers reserved for the transport of foodstuffs) provided the requirements of Schedule 3 are complied with.

Offences by bodies corporate

18.—(1) Where an offence under these Regulations which has been committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of—

(a)any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate; or

(b)any person who was purporting to act in any such capacity,

he as well as the body corporate shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

(2) In paragraph (1)(a) “director”, in relation to any body corporate established by or under any enactment for the purpose of carrying on under national ownership any industry or part of an industry or undertaking, being a body corporate whose affairs are managed by its members, means a member of that body corporate.

Right of appeal

19.—(1) Any person who is aggrieved by—

(a)a decision of an authorised officer to serve a hygiene improvement notice;

(b)a decision of an enforcement authority to refuse to issue a certificate mentioned under regulation 7(6) or regulation 8(8); or

(c)a decision of an authorised officer to serve a remedial action notice,

may appeal to a court of summary jurisdiction.

(2) The procedure on an appeal to a court of summary jurisdiction under paragraph (1) shall be by way of notice under Part VII of the Magistrates Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981(2).

(3) The period within which an appeal under paragraph (1) may be brought shall be—

(a)one month from and including the date on which notice of the decision was served on the person desiring to appeal; or

(b)in the case of an appeal against a decision to issue a hygiene improvement notice, the period specified in sub-paragraph (a) or, if it is shorter, the period specified in the notice pursuant to regulation 6(1)(d),

and the making of a complaint for an order shall be deemed for the purposes of this paragraph to be the bringing of the appeal.

Appeals against hygiene improvement notices and remedial action notices

20.—(1) On an appeal against a hygiene improvement notice or a remedial action notice, the court may cancel or affirm the notice and, if it affirms it, may do so either in its original form or with such modifications as the court may in the circumstances think fit.

(2) Where any period specified in a hygiene improvement notice pursuant to regulation 6(1)(d) would otherwise include any day on which an appeal against that notice is pending, that day shall be excluded from that period.

(3) Any appeal shall be regarded as pending for the purposes of paragraph (2) until it is finally disposed of, is withdrawn or is struck out for want of prosecution.

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