The HFSS Legislation white paper is still pending, however this is what we know about the enforcement so far, after the consultation with industry. The enforcement powers will fall under two Acts, Food Safety Act 1990 and The Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008.
Who will be responsible for enforcing?
Local Authorities will be responsible for enforcing the legislation, they will be reviewing retailers in-store/online placement of products and engaging with all retailers in scope to demonstrate compliance. There is an expectation that Local Authorities will engage with retailers to encourage compliance as well as manage expectations of non compliance and repeated offences.
Who is responsible for HFSS compliance?
Retailers. The legislation lays the responsibility of compliance on the retailers as they are the businesses selling HFSS products to the general public. Retailers are also expected to map their products in HFSS categories in scope, and have visibility of these products (including updates due to reformulation etc). How retailers choose to do this is up to their own judgement and internal capabilities.
Non Compliance of HFSS
The UK Government stresses that penalties for non compliance need to to be fair and proportionate, observing the risk involved. As this legislation does not put anyone in the public at immediate risk, the enforcement is rather encouraging than penalising in nature.
- If a retailer is non compliant with the proposed legislation they will be served with an “Improvement Notice” or a “Stop Notice”, from the Local Authority. This will detail what the retailer needs to improve/stop, and what they need to do as next steps, as well as give an appropriate time frame for the non compliance to be corrected.
- Repeat offences and/or non communication of Notices, the retailer risks a fixed monetary penalty of £2,500. If the penalty is not paid within 28 days, it will increase to £5,000.
- 28 days is the set period of time the retailer has to respond to any enforcement from a Local Authority.
All cases in which a Local Authority has issued a notice or where by a civil sanction has been placed on a retailer, will be published for transparency.
Further details on compliance and enforcement are expected to be published in the HFSS white paper.
The legislation is coming into force in the UK October, 2022.
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