Emma Nakova, from Northampton, was charged with the obstruction of an officer acting in the execution of the Hygiene Regulations on 15 December 2021.
She pleaded guilty at Northampton Magistrates Court on 17 January 2024 following a successful prosecution by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Nakova, who works as a production manager at Northamptonshire Food Services Ltd, admitted to obstructing the NFCU’s unannounced visit by delaying entry to the premises.
Subsequently, she was ordered to pay a fine of £500, victim surcharge of £200 and full prosecution costs of £12,118.18.
‘NFCU works with industry to protect consumers’
The FSA works to ensure food is safe and meets its description by monitoring the compliance levels of approved premises and checking that specific requirements for food hygiene legislation are being met.
“We’re tackling food fraudsters and protecting public health by helping to ensure businesses meet their responsibility to sell safe and authentic food,” noted NFCU head Andrew Quinn.
“This case shows that people who stand in the way of our work can become personally liable for substantial costs – it’s vital that we gain access to fulfil our own responsibilities to check whether anything untoward is going on. Deterring people who don’t play by the rules and ensuring they don’t get away with it helps support legitimate businesses and we continue to work together with industry to protect the consumer.”
Commenting on the sentencing, the judge said: “You were the production manager at this company, and you knew full well that you must open the door to those who are looking to see if there are any offences or anything untoward in that business.
“That's important because the agencies must know in order to protect public health if there is anything untoward going on at the premises. I take the view this was wilful blindness to it which gives high culpability and a category 2 offence, aggravated by the state of some of the meat in production.”