Food law and enforcement

Whistleblowing in the food industry

Guide

The Public Interest Disclosure Act protects workers from unfair treatment or victimisation by their employer if they report wrongdoing in the workplace - known as whistleblowing. Workers in the food industry can report any wrongdoing in confidence. They are protected by the act if their disclosure is a 'qualifying disclosure'.

Qualifying disclosures for whistleblowing

A disclosure is a qualifying disclosure for whistleblowing if the worker reasonably believes that one or more of the following is happening now, took place in the past, or is likely to happen in the future:

  • a criminal offence
  • the breach of a legal obligation
  • a miscarriage of justice
  • a danger to the health and safety of any individual
  • damage to the environment
  • a deliberate attempt to cover up any one of the above

Qualifying disclosures to the Food Standards Agency (FSA)

A qualifying disclosure to the FSA is a protected disclosure provided the worker makes the disclosure in good faith and reasonably believes that:

  • the failure they are reporting may affect the health of any member of the public if they consume food that is affected - or if it concerns the protection of consumers' interests in relation to food
  • the information disclosed and any allegation contained in it are substantially true

The FSA will make every effort to protect the identity of the whistleblower and to make sure they don't suffer as a result of making a public interest disclosure.

Making a disclosure

If you work in the food industry you may want to blow the whistle in the public interest on wrongdoing where you work. The FSA's policy on whistleblowing explains how you will be protected from detrimental treatment or victimisation by your employer under the Public Interest Disclosures Act.

Whistleblowers can make a disclosure by:

Other ways to make a disclosure

The whistleblowing charity Public Concern At Work (PCAW) provides free confidential advice to workers who have concerns about wrongdoing in the workplace.