A poultry farmer has been fined following a prosecution by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) after evidence was found that he had falsified salmonella testing certificates.

38-year-old Stuart Perkins of SG Perkin Ltd, from Radstock, pleaded guilty to various offences under The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 and the Animal Health Act 1981.

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.

The FSA, working with partners including Avon and Somerset Police and Environmental Health and Trading Standards, executed a search warrant at the poultry farm and abattoir in November 2023 and found evidence of traceability concerns and that Perkins had falsified salmonella testing certificates.

This meant birds had been slaughtered for the food chain without proof they were free from disease.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) supported the investigations, monitoring the welfare of the poultry on site and collecting official salmonella samples.

The FSA acted to manage the potential food safety risk by ensuring products with traceability concerns were removed from the market.

An alert was also issued to industry by the FSA’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) to ask food businesses to check the traceability of their suppliers to help ensure legitimate businesses maintain the integrity and safety of their food chains and protect their customers.

‘Jeopardising food safety’

Head of the FSA’s NFCU, Andrew Quinn, said: “We welcome this substantial fine as it shows the serious nature of faking documents and jeopardising food safety.

“This should act as a deterrent to anyone considering taking dangerous short cuts and breaching food safety and hygiene law.

“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.”

Head of the Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service, Fakir Mohamed Osman, said: “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.”