Food firm told to pay £44k for food hygiene offences

POE Ltd was ordered to pay after incorrectly labelling chicken heart and liver, and for unhygienically manufacturing food

Food processor POE Ltd was ordered to pay almost £44,000 in fines and costs, after the company and the director were convicted of a series of meat hygiene offences.

The Rugeley, Staffordshire-based firm was preparing to distribute foods that were not hygienically manufactured, and distributed chicken livers and hearts to specialist retailers with incorrect labels, environmental health officers found.

It also failed to provide hand-washing facilities, and put in place suitable food hygiene procedures, according to Cannock Chase Council, which brought the prosecution.

POE Ltd – which specialises in manufacturing Romanian foods – and its director Calin Poenariu, pleaded guilty to three food safety and hygiene offences on May 16, at Cannock Magistrates’ Court. The company was ordered to pay £35,720, while Poenariu was told to pay £8,143.

‘Penalties imposed’

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Cannock Chase Council food, safety and licensing manager David Prosser-Davies said: “I am pleased that the court, through the penalties imposed, recognised the seriousness of this matter. We would always encourage food businesses to seek our advice and assistance at the earliest opportunity.

“We have a proud record of helping local food businesses to comply with legislation, through offering free advice and support. Unfortunately, on this occasion, our advice was not followed and serious offences were committed.”

The business was also producing and placing meat-based foods on the market from a site that was not approved by the council. The council’s environmental health officers removed and destroyed food that wasn’t manufactured hygienically, it said.

Unfair competitive advantage

Food business that do not comply with legislation put the public at risk, Prosser-Davies said. They also gain an unfair competitive advantage over businesses that do make efforts to comply with regulations.

Meanwhile, earlier this month fish processor Oban Fish Selling Ltd was ordered to pay more than £15,000 in fines and costs for food hygiene offences, after inspectors found cigarette ends in food storage areas, and inadequate food safety management procedures.

POE Ltd food hygiene offences
  • Distributed chicken livers and hearts with incorrect labels
  • Unhygienically manufactured foods
  • Failed to provide hand-washing facilities
  • Producing food from unauthorised site

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