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Food firm fined £50k for faking disease certificates

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Stuart Perkins Ltd has been fined £50k for falsifying salmonella testing certificates. Image: Getty, DNY59
Stuart Perkins Ltd has been fined £50k for falsifying salmonella testing certificates. Image: Getty, DNY59
Poultry business Stuart Perkins Ltd has been fined £50k for falsifying salmonella testing certificates.

An investigation by the FSA into SG Perkins’ poultry farm and abattoir – in conjunction with Avon and Somerset Police, Environmental Health and Trading Standards – found that it had been faking the certificates and sending birds into the food chain without proof they were free from disease.

To combat any potential food safety risk, the FSA ensured products with traceability concerns were removed from the market. An alert was also issued to the industry to check the traceability of suppliers to ensure businesses maintain the integrity and safety of their food chains.

Jeopardising food safety

Andrew Quinn, head of the FSA’s National Food Crime Unit, welcomed the fine and the clear message of how serious faking documents and jeopardising food safety is.

“This should act as a deterrent to anyone considering taking dangerous short cuts and breaching food safety and hygiene law,” ​he continued. “I want to thank Heart of the South West Trading Standards for their excellent work in securing this result, as well as Avon and Somerset Police for their assistance. 

“Together, we are stronger in the fight against food crime, and we continue to work with partners to ensure food is safe and help ensure that consumers are protected.”

Stuart Perkins of SG Perkins Ltd, age 38 from Radstock, pleaded guilty at Bath Magistrates Court on Wednesday 3 July to various offences under The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 and the Animal Health Act 1981. 

Sentencing

Perkins and SG Perkins Ltd was sentenced to a fine of £5,000 for each FSA offence, £3,500 for each local authority offence, costs amounting to £21,810.75, plus a victim surcharge of £2,000, which came to a total of £50,830.75.

Heart of the South West Trading Standards head Fakir Mohamed Osman added: “We take breaches of this kind very seriously. The prevention of salmonella programme is there for a reason, to safeguard the public. Producers suspected of not carrying out the required testing will be investigated”. 

“The defendant’s actions presented a real risk to public health, and I am pleased that, thanks to our collaborative efforts with the Food Standards Agency, we were able to take action.”

Meanwhile, the European Commission has fined Mondelēz International €337.5m for hindering the cross-border trade​ of chocolate, biscuits and coffee products between EU member states.

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