The criminal liability of companies (and employers) determines that corporate entities will be liable for the crimes committed by their employees if these can not be identified or proceedings can not be filed against them.
Look at it this way: an individual buys a pack of prawns at a local supermarket and that night after consuming them, he dies. His relatives attribute his death to the consumption of these prawns. They put the matter in the hands of their lawyer who files a criminal complaint to the supermarket management claiming that, according to their criteria, the prawns were not in good condition.
In my opinion, our judicial future should not depend on the guarantees provided by the law regarding presumption of innocence, instead we should be able to demonstrate immediately that we have complied precisely with the legislation on food safety.
How do we reliably prove the care and conservation of the prawns? Have they been preserved at the correct temperature? Was the carrier at fault? Or the manufacturer? From the company’s criminal liability perspective, the liability regarding scrupulous monitoring and control of the cold chain and food traceability, is increasingly regulated by law.
Reform of the Penal Code
After the reform of the Penal Code (introduced by the Organic Law 1/2015, of March 30, by which the Organic Law 10/1995, of November 23, of the Penal Code was modified), in order to exonerate criminal liability, it is not enough for the company to prove that it has a criminal risk prevention program. Four additional conditions are also required.
The first of these is that the administration body has adopted and executed, prior to the offence, management procedures that include the appropriate surveillance and control measures to prevent crimes. Those controls must include a time stamp.
The second condition refers to the fact that supervision of the implemented prevention model has been entrusted to an independent body belonging to a legal entity.
The third is that the individuals who have committed the crime have done so by fraudulently evading the organization and prevention proceedures.
And the last condition is that there has not been an omission or insufficient exercise of supervision, monitoring and control by the corresponding body in charge of carrying them out.
Technology is the solution
Total food safety should be a priority for wholesalers, retailers and food transporters that require thermal control. For this, it is quite true that technology can easily solve the problem. We must simply take advantage of the opportunity that the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data offer us today when establishing exhaustive and second-by-second control of the temperature of food throughout its journey, from leaving the manufacture chain to reaching the consumer.
It is here that the technology of ‘connected thermometers’ allows us to monitor thoroughly and establish remote alarm criteria in case of a deviation of the reference parameters. All this in a simple and economical way. In this way, technology allows us to demonstrate that, on the one hand, quality requirements have been fulfilled and that, on the other hand, compliance with the legislation has also been complied with. What price can you place on the peace of mind that one can enjoy by being prepared for any contingency of this nature?
Original article by Jose Antonio Ferreira Dapia, Technology Consultant.
Translated by Conchi Fuentes, Linking English.