Whether you need a hygiene, compliance or quality assurance, marketing or secret protection concept – we also assist you in all matters relating to concept development.

You may not even know which concepts and systems your company should provide. Please do not hesitate to contact us. Depending on the structure and operations of your business, various individual aspects – ranging from hygiene to marketing and secret protection – are decisive.

An effective compliance concept is of particular importance for food businesses, especially with regard to potential financial consequences.

Publication about compliance ebook about compliance

The meaning of “compliance/QA system”

“Compliance” is a well-known buzzword that designates an organisational system designed to ensure adherence to legal standards and internal company rules. Such systems also include “QA” (quality assurance) or “QM” (quality management), risk assessment or product safety, the latter two referring specifically to the systematic assessment of risks and subsequent control measures such as recalls.

The purpose of a compliance system

Regardless of the terminology, food businesses are subject to a multitude of obligations in the production, processing and sale of food. Establishing a compliance system is recommended to ensure that all these obligations are met.

Having a good compliance system is essential, not only to minimise the risk of marketing unsafe foods, but also in the event of any other incidents, such as regulatory offence or criminal proceedings. If it can be demonstrated that a good compliance system – i.e. appropriate procedures to prevent or rule out criminal and regulatory offences (of employees) – is in place, sanctions may be avoided entirely or be milder.

This can be of an existential nature for a company. If certain company executives have committed criminal or regulatory offences, a fine may be imposed on that company (Sec. 30 (1) OWiG – Act on Regulatory Offences), involving amounts of up to € 5 million for criminal offences committed negligently and up to € 10 million for criminal offences committed with intent. If the planned Corporate Sanctions Act were to be passed, companies could even be subject to criminal prosecution. Depending on the company’s economic strength, even considerably higher monetary sanctions are conceivable.

A functioning compliance system can also play a major role in the context of what is called asset recovery. Asset recovery is ordered for all criminal offences in which the offender or participant has obtained something (Sec. 73 (1) StGB – German Criminal Code); in the case of regulatory offences, this is done at the court’s discretion (Sec. 29a OWiG). In food law, where the same real-world fact situation could be classified as either a criminal offence or a regulatory offence depending on the mental element of the offence (intent or negligence), companies are increasingly facing (considerable) asset recovery.

This illustrates how important it has become for companies to take appropriate organisational precautions to effectively ensure from the outset that the company’s executive bodies and employees properly meet their company’s obligations. But even after any proceedings, establishing or improving a compliance system may also reduce a potential sentence (keyword: post-offence behaviour).

Developing a compliance system

Whether it is to avoid regulatory fining or criminal proceedings or to reduce a potential sentence after proceedings, we assist you in developing and establishing appropriate systems, especially in taking the following measures:

  • Handling instructions / Task or job descriptions (“compliance guidelines”)
  • Effective implementation of such instructions
  • (Specific) risk analysis (on a case-by-case basis)
  • Exercise of due care (on a case-by-case basis)
  • Monitoring and review of past issues

Representation in regulatory offence and/or criminal proceedings

In addition, we represent your company and your employees in regulatory offence proceedings as well as in investigation proceedings by public prosecutors. We also take care of legal defence in court proceedings, if necessary, with the support of external lawyers specialising in criminal law.

Wir kommen auch gerne zu Ihnen ins Unternehmen und bieten Ihnen Workshops bzw. Inhouse-Schulungen an.