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27 September 2013, 16:11
2 Sisters Food Group in Suffolk's been fined £112,000 for the mislabelling of chicken products.
Mid Suffolk District Council found that chicken products manufactured at the 2 Sisters site at Haughley Park were being given a 14 day shelf life, four days longer than recommended by the Food Standards Agency.
They were given a warning which they complied with but then went back to the 14 day shelf life.
The company the failed to comply with a second warning notice and investigators went back in.
Mid Suffolk District Council inspectors found that the company had failed to comply with the notice, failed to have a suitable food safety management system in place and then failed to provide records of production when the Council tried to establish the scale of the problem.
On the 27th of September 2013 the company pleaded guilty to the three charges at Ipswich Crown Court and were fined a total of £112,500 and the Council was awarded costs of over £41,000.
The Council say managers even tried to hide large amounts of the wrongly labelled products which later turned up for sale in shops.
id substantial amounts of product from the investigating Officers, some of which was later found in retail outlets by the Environmental Health team who suspected they were not being given the full facts. It then took the company over 7 weeks to provide production records which eventually demonstrated the large quantities involved and putting a serious question over product traceability.
John Grayling, manager of food and safety services at Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Councils commented: ‘Someone in the organisation was putting profit before food safety and it seems likely they were doing so because they thought it was what the company wanted. The case illustrates very well why it is necessary to have strong regulators ensuring that compliant businesses are not put at an economic disadvantage by those that will flout the regulations made to protect people.’
Councillor Marilyn Curran, Portfolio Member for Environmental Health and Housing, commended the environmental health service on pursuing this case and commented: “In Mid Suffolk, we will always do what we can to support businesses and our Food and Safety team spend the majority of their time giving advice to food businesses to help them improve food safety. Where our advice is ignored and we feel that consumers are being put at risk however, we are always prepared to step in to protect the public.”