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A Practical Guide to the Law Relating to Food

Food Law‘A Practical Guide to The Law Relating to Food’ provides something for everyone, from food business owners seeking a general overview of key compliance issues, to food professionals wanting a quick refresher on specific topics, to students wanting to see how the theory plays out in the real world and, possibly, to others, with no more than a passing interest in how food law affects them.

by Ian Thomas


Published: July 2018

These days it is easy to find what the law says but perhaps harder to find an explanation of what it means in practice; this book helps to provide that explanation.

The primary aim of everyone involved in the legislation, regulation, enforcement, application and interpretation of food law is to protect consumers. The book is therefore not written from the perspective of the regulator or the business operator; it approaches the subject from a neutral standpoint providing guidance on legal compliance and enforcement and, where possible, how to achieve best practice.

Subjects covered in the book include; general principles of food law, food safety and hygiene, food information and labelling, nutrition and health claims, traceability, withdrawal and recalls, enforcement and prosecutions. There is also a chapter on the approach to sentencing in food law cases in England and Wales having regard to the Definitive Sentencing Guideline.

The implications of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union continue to be fraught uncertainty and therefore the book does no more than make passing reference to some of the general issues relevant to post-Brexit food law.

As this is not intended to be a food law textbook and readers will be pleased to note that detailed references to legislation and case law are kept to a minimum and used only where necessary to explain the regulatory regime applicable to the subject under discussion.

The book exhibits a ‘bias’ towards UK law and practice, and perhaps more specifically to England and Wales, there are some references to Irish law.

Although law is country-specific, the way food law is applied in practice is more universal. In addition to the UK and Ireland, ‘A Practical Guide to The Law Relating to Food’ will be relevant to readers in other jurisdictions in Europe and perhaps even further afield.


Ian Thomas specialises in the law relating to food and non-food consumer products.

He is a dual qualified lawyer practising in England and Wales and in the Republic of Ireland.

Ian advises on all aspects of food law and practice including new product development, general compliance issues, enforcement actions, appeals and prosecutions, as well as representing clients in courts and tribunals.

He works with clients in the UK, Ireland, Europe and globally and as a barrister he accepts instructions directly from clients under the Bar’s Public Access Scheme.

Ian presents at lectures and seminars and he provides practical skills training to non-lawyers on matters such as evidence gathering and preparing to go to court. He is a consultant trainer with La Touche Training.

Ian is an elected Fellow of the Society of Food Hygiene and Technology.

He is a member of the following organisations; Food Law Group, the Certification Committee of Excellence Ireland Quality Association, the Food Safety Professionals Association, the Course Committee of the Food Regulatory Affairs and Veterinary Public Health programmes at Ulster University and University College Dublin, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, the Bar of England and Wales and the Law Society of Ireland.


Chapter One – General Principles of Food Law
Chapter Two – Food Safety
Chapter Three – Food Hygiene
Chapter Four – Labelling and Food Information to Consumers
Chapter Five – Nutrition and Health Claims
Chapter Six – Traceability, Withdrawal and Recall
Chapter Seven – Enforcement
Chapter Eight – Criminal Prosecutions
Chapter Nine – Sentencing
Chapter Ten – Conclusion With a Comment About Brexit!

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