The horsemeat scandal of 2013 raised important questions about the effectiveness of food labelling, due diligence and supply chains. Now more than ever, those in the food and drink industry must work together to rebuild reputations, restore public trust and ensure quality. We act for major food and drink manufacturers, retailers, restaurants, hotels and distributors, and their insurers. Our dedicated food and drink team has the first-hand experience and informed legal expertise to obtain successful outcomes in this industry in an unparalleled range of areas. We can call upon a tried and tested network of expert witnesses in various scientific fields, leading barristers and specialist lawyers in other countries.
Day One Advice
We recognise that brand and reputation are important assets in the food and drink industry, and a swift legal response is often required when an incident arises. We offer a 24/7 helpline and expertise in product recall and liability, regulatory and contamination issues. We work closely with crisis management, compliance and public relations advisors to minimise negative media coverage. We offer immediate legal representation at PACE interviews and representation at Magistrates’ and Crown courts. We are also experienced in working with regulators, often persuading them not to pursue a prosecution by demonstrating at an early stage a due diligence defence or a lack of public interest. When prosecutions do arise, we are experienced in mounting robust defences.
Cutting Edge Risk Management
We have expertise in handling food and drink contamination claims, both where losses are insured (as damage to property) and uninsured (financial losses). We have a proven record of resolving large groups of injury claims arising out of an outbreak, in a pragmatic and cost effective manner. We work with leading experts and testing facilities in cutting edge cases involving meat contamination at DNA level, and have acted in high profile cases involving E.coli O104:H4 infection throughout Europe and in norovirus outbreaks in Michelin starred restaurants.
Supply chain management is crucial and we are experienced in pursuing recoveries against others in the chain, calling on specialist lawyers in our global network where necessary. We can also ‘stress test’ your supply chain contracts, due diligence records, traceability and regulatory procedures and provide in-house training.
We also advise insurers on effective wording in respect of food and drink policies, and provide coverage advice on often contentious areas (e.g. whether contamination has caused damage under the policy), calling on in-house Queen’s Counsel to assist.