The Food Industry
The food industry is a complex diverse business which touches every individual in modern society. As an industry it ranges from the industrial aspect of farming and food production, which incorporates processing and packaging, to the marketing and distribution of the end product to the retail and catering industry. Along the way there are various associated industries including the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors which have a major input and exposure to the quality of the end product.
The duty of all directors and officers in food industry operations is to ensure the quality of their product is compliant with all regulations and meets the highest standards of food safety and hygiene. These regulations have evolved over recent years to include a focus on the source, quality and origin of all ingredients and ensuring that it is consistent with the product labelling.
Small Claims and General Recalls
Food industry claims can range from small contamination cases to national product recalls and potential class actions against companies and the Directors and Officers. These claims can be made not only by consumers and regulators but by shareholders and other affected parties.
While small contamination cases do not have the profile of larger recall events they are becoming increasingly common and can become costly with lawyers keen to join all parties, including directors in claims, directors and senior staff can be held personally financially liable.
No “Standard Cover”
It is imperative to understand that in the food industry there is no such thing as a standard or uniform approach to Directors and Officers insurance. There are many different types of policy and the scope of coverage can vary greatly and will depend on the particular food sector and activity of the insured. Each sector will have particular exposures and risks which have to be defined and quantified to ensure the policy provides the protection required when called upon. In addition to defining a policy correctly selecting the most appropriate insurance company can be of equal importance as they vary greatly in terms of what they charge and how they respond when a company faces a crisis.