"By Bisi Oladipupo"
Due diligence is designed to balance the protection of the consumer against the rights of a food business if is has taken all reasonable care to avoid committing the offence.
The damage to a business, brand or industry sector, no matter how big or small, can be catastrophic if customers lose confidence in the product involved. But for a food business a fully functioning due- diligence system will minimise this risk.
Maintaining some form of documentation of your food safety controls, having a documented food safety system and having a good food hygiene rating score are all part of due diligence. Food business owners that continue to ignore warning letters from local authorities about their food safety practices or those with poor food hygiene rating scores open themselves up to prosecution. Under these circumstances it will be very difficult for a food business to have a good due diligence defence in the event of any eventuality e.g. a food poisoning outbreak.
The reality of business is that sometimes things do go wrong. A good example would be a food poisoning outbreak which even top food business sometimes experience. What minimises the damage to their business is that they normally would have a good due diligence defence. Such business would have a food safety management system, maintain their food safety records and have a good food hygiene rating. Some would even go the extra mile and have frequent outside audits from a food safety auditor.
If you are a food business with either a 0, 1 or 2 food hygiene rating score, you really need to start thinking of improving your in house systems as a prosecution could be very costly!