§ Lord Harris of Greenwich
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Which offences are imprisonable under the Food and Drugs Acts.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earl Ferrers)
The offences under the Food and Drugs Act 1955 for which an offender is liable to imprisonment are those created by Sections 1(4), 2(1), 5(3), 6(1) and (2), 8(1) and (2), 12(1), 14(3), 16(2), 24(3), 31(3), 32(5), 36(3), 37(5), 38(4), 43(1), 47(5), 100(5) and 104(3), the proviso to Section 105(1) and Section 116(1) and (2). The maximum term of imprisonment that can be imposed is three months, except that, in the case of the offence under Section 5(3), the maximum term is two years if the offence is tried on indictment. All the other offences are at present triable only summarily.
As from 1st January 1983 the Food and Drugs (Amendment) Act 1982 will amend the Food and Drugs Act 1955 so as to make most offences under the 1955 Act triable either summarily or on indictment. Except in two cases an offender will then be liable to imprisonment only if convicted on indictment. The two exceptions relate to the offences under Sections 5(3) and 100(5). A person convicted summarily of an offence under Section 5(3) will remain liable to imprisonment for up to three months; the offence under Section 100(5) will continue to be triable only summarily, and an offender will remain liable to imprisonment for up to three months. The offence under the proviso to Section 105(1) will continue to be triable only summarily and a person convicted of the offence will no longer be liable to imprisonment.
All offences under the Food and Drugs (Scotland) Act 1956 are triable either summarily or on indictment and in both cases a person convicted is liable to imprisonment. The maximum term is six months on summary conviction and 12 months on conviction on indictment. All offences under the Food and Drugs Act (Northern Ireland) 1958 are triable summarily and an offender is liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months.