Food and Drugs Act 1955

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1955 c. 16


Food and Drugs Act, 1955

(4 & 5 Eliz. 2) CHAPTER 16

An Act to consolidate the Food and Drugs Act, 1938, the Food and Drugs (Milk, Dairies and Artificial Cream) Act, 1950, and the Food and Drugs Amendment Act, 1954, together with certain other enactments amending and supplementing Part V of the said Act of 1938 in relation to slaughterhouses and knackers' yards.

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I General Provisions as to Food and Drugs

Part I

General Provisions as to Food and Drugs

Composition and labelling of food and drugs

Composition and labelling of food and drugs

S-1 Offences in connection with preparation and sale of injurious foods and adulterated drugs.

1 Offences in connection with preparation and sale of injurious foods and adulterated drugs.

(1) No person shall add any substance to food, use any substance as an ingredient in the preparation of food, abstract any constituent from food, or subject food to any other process or treatment, so as (in any such case) to render the food injurious to health, with intent that the food shall be sold for human consumption in that state.

(2) No person shall add any substance to, or abstract any constituent from, a drug so as to affect injuriously the quality, constitution or potency of the drug, with intent that the drug shall be sold in that state.

(3) Subject to the provisions of this Section, no person shall—

(a ) sell for human Consumption, offer, expose or advertise for sale for human consumption, or have in his possession for the purpose of such sale, any food rendered injurious to health by means of any operation described in subsection (1) of this section, or

(b ) sell, offer, expose or advertise for sale, or have in his possession for the purpose of sale, any drug injuriously affected in its quality, constitution or potency by means of any operation described in subsection (2) of this section.

(4) A person who contravenes any of the foregoing provisions of this section shall be guilty of an offence.

(5) In determining for the purposes of this Act whether an article of food is injurious to health, regard shall be had not only to the probable effect of that article on the health of a person consuming it, but also to the probable cumulative effect of articles of substantially the same composition on the health of a person consuming such articles in ordinary quantities.

(6) In proceedings under this section for an offence consisting of the advertisement for sale of any food or drug, it shall be a defence for the person charged to prove that, being a person whose business it is to publish, or arrange for the publication of, advertisements, he received the advertisement for publication in the ordinary course of business.

S-2 General protection for purchasers of food and drugs.

2 General protection for purchasers of food and drugs.

(1) If a person sells to the prejudice of the purchaser any food or drug which is not of the nature, or not of the substance, or not of the quality, of the food or drug demanded by the purchaser, he shall, subject to the provisions of the next following section, be guilty of an offence.

(2) In proceedings under this section it shall not be a defence to allege that the purchaser bought for analysis or examination and therefore was not prejudiced.

(3) In this section, except so far as it relates to drugs, the reference to sale shall be construed as a reference to sale for human consumption.

S-3 Defences available in proceedings under s. 2.

3 Defences available in proceedings under s. 2.

(1) In proceedings under section two of this Act for an offence consisting of the sale of food to which any substance has been added, or in the preparation of which any substance has been used as an ingredient, or from which any constituent has been abstracted, or which has been subjected to any other process or treatment, other than food thereby rendered injurious to health, it shall be a defence for the person charged to prove that the operation in question was not carried out fraudulently, and that the article was sold having attached thereto a notice of adequate size, distinctly and legibly printed and conspicuously visible, stating explicitly the nature of the operation, or was sold in a wrapper or container displaying such a notice.

(2) The provisions of the foregoing subsection shall apply in relation to proceedings for an offence consisting of the sale of a drug to which any substance has been added, or from which any constituent has been abstracted, other than a drug thereby injuriously affected in its quality, constitution or potency, as they apply in relation to any such offence as is therein mentioned.

(3) In proceedings under section two of this Act in respect of any food or drug containing some extraneous matter, it shall be a defence for the defendant to prove that the presence of that matter was an unavoidable consequence of the process of collection or preparation.

(4) In proceedings under the said section two in respect of diluted whisky, brandy, rum or gin, it shall be a defence for the defendant to prove that the spirit in question had been diluted with water only and that its strength was still not lower than thirty-five degrees under proof; but nothing in this subsection shall be taken as affecting the provisions of subsection (4) of section one hundred and sixty-one of the Customs and Excise Act, 1952 (which relates to the dilution of spirits after computation of duty).

S-4 Regulations as to composition of food, etc.

4 Regulations as to composition of food, etc.

(1) The Ministers may, so far as appears to them to be necessary or expedient in the interests of the public health, or otherwise for the protection of the public, make regulations for any of the following purposes:—

(a ) for requiring, prohibiting or regulating the addition of any specified substance, or any substance of any specified class, to food intended for sale for human consumption or any class of such food, or the use of any such substance as an ingredient in the preparation of such food, and generally for regulating the composition of such food;

(b ) for requiring, prohibiting or regulating the use of any process or treatment in the preparation of any food intended for sale for human consumption, or any class of such food;

(c ) for prohibiting or regulating the sale, possession for sale, offer or exposure for sale, consignment, or delivery, of food which does not comply with any of the regulations, or in relation to which an offence against the regulations has been committed or would have been committed if any relevant act or omission had taken place in England and Wales, or for prohibiting or regulating the importation of any such food as aforesaid;

(d ) for prohibiting or regulating the sale, possession for sale, or offer, exposure or advertisement for sale, of any specified substance, or of any substance of any specified class, with a view to its use in the preparation of food for human consumption, and the possession of any such substance for use in the preparation of food intended for sale for human consumption.

(2) In the exercise of their functions under this section the Ministers shall have regard to the desirability of restricting, so far as practicable, the use of substances of no nutritional value as foods or as ingredients of foods.

(3) Regulations made under this section may apply to cream, and to any food containing milk; but except as aforesaid such regulations shall not apply to milk.

(4) Regulations so made may provide, in relation to such cases as may be specified and subject to such exceptions as may be allowed by or under the regulations, that, where any food is certified by a public analyst as being food to which the regulations apply so far as they are made under paragraph (c ) of subsection (1) of this section, that food may be treated for the purposes of section nine of this Act (under which food may be seized and destroyed on the order of a justice of the peace) as being unfit for human consumption:

Provided that nothing in any such regulations shall be taken as prejudicing the generality of the powers conferred by the said section nine.

S-5 Power of Ministers to obtain particulars of certain food ingredients.

5 Power of Ministers to obtain particulars of certain food ingredients.

(1) For the purpose of enabling them to exercise their functions under section four of this Act, the Ministers may by order require every person who at the date of the order or at any subsequent time carries on a business which includes the production, importation or use of substances of any class specified in the order to furnish to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, within such time as may be so specified, such particulars as may be so specified of the composition and use of any such substance sold in the course of that business for use in the preparation of food for human consumption, or used for that purpose in the course of that business.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing subsection, an order made thereunder may require the following particulars to be furnished in respect of any substance, that is to say—

(a ) particulars of the composition and chemical formula of the substance,

(b ) particulars of the manner in which the substance is used or proposed to be used in the preparation of food,

(c ) particulars of any investigations carried out by or to the knowledge of the person carrying on the business in question, for the purpose of determining whether and to what extent the substance, or any product formed when the substance is used as aforesaid, is...

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