A Northampton butcher has been fined £14,000 after pleading guilty to selling meat which was unfit for human consumption and falsely labelling other meat as of British origin.
Peter Salmons of Terringham Close, Northampton, who trades as The Meating Place in Billing Garden Village appeared before Northampton Magistrates on Tuesday facing five charges under the Food Safety Act (1990).
The charges were brought by Northamptonshire County Council Trading Standards which had taken samples of the meat away for tests in September last year. These later proved to have excessive protein breakdown - they were ‘going off’.
On revisiting the premises in December 2015, officers examined claims that meat on sale was of British origin. An investigation discovered that all the pre-packed chicken fillets and pork steaks were of foreign origin despite the pack labelling stating ‘Country of Origin: British’.
It is estimated that approximately 40 per cent of the meat being sold as British in the previous seven months was not of British origin.
Councillor Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council deputy leader and cabinet member for public protection, said: “There was real potential for a safety issue here in that selling meat that is unfit for human consumption can have serious health repercussions for anyone eating it.
“This business had also received previous warnings about the sale of meat with excessive protein breakdown and yet they had continued to commit offences.
“These were very serious charges about issues that consumers would be unable to detect for themselves and I’m delighted with the work of our Trading Standards officers in pursuing this case and getting a result in the Magistrates Court.
“I think this sends out a warning to anyone flouting food regulations that we take this very seriously indeed and will take legal action as necessary.”
Salmons was fined a total of £14,000 plus costs of £2,099.02 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120.