Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Ipswich/Eye: Food company fined £30k for breaching food safety laws

18:22 14 November 2012

Ipswich Magistrates

Ipswich Magistrates' Court


A LEADING Suffolk food company which prides itself on using top quality and fresh ingredients has been ordered to pay almost £30,000 for mis-labelling its products.


Stark Naked Foods Limited admitted breaching 14 food safety and consumer protection laws relating to its range of pesto products during a hearing held at Ipswich Magistrates Court yesterday.

The court heard how the company, based in London Road, Ipswich, had sold goods to ASDA and Waitrose supermarkets which

contained sunflower oil even though labels claimed only extra virgin was used.

Other charges related to products sold to Waitrose which contained frozen ingredients despite its labels stating it only used fresh herbs, and claims that herbs were sourced from local farmers when this was not always the case.

The cases were brought against the company by Suffolk County Council’s Trading Standards department. Initially, the company had faced 30 charges but these were reduced to 14, including 11 for breaching the Food Safety Act and three for breaching Consumer Protection laws for using misleading marketing on its website.

The couple who run the business, Marcus and Victoria Welch of Langton Green in Eye, also faced 30 charges each but these were later dropped.

Prosecuting, Alison Lambert said the company had failed to change its labels despite receiving advice from Trading Standards.

The company had sought approval by the authority for its labels, but when an inspection was carried out they found a number of breaches had been made.

The company, which was estimated to have been worth £1.2million, denied any deliberate wrong-doing and said there were minor technical labelling issues.

The company was fined £23,500 and £5,000 in legal costs. The total cost of the investigation to the county council was £30,000.

The company’s solicitor Fred Philpott said: “This was a heavy handed, sledge hammer approach by the council. £29,000 of public money has been spent despite there being no customer complaints or safety issues.”

He later added: “Trading Standards have cost five Suffolk people their jobs and four out of the five supermarkets which bought the products have withdrawn their business. The company is in trouble.”

The company said the errors were down to a technical manager who changed the recipes without changing the labels.

The court accepted the offences were not made in a malice fashion but found errors continued to occur despite warnings.

Speaking after the hearing, the company issued a statement which read: “Whether the business survives of not is an open question. If it does not the sole reason will be the involvement of Suffolk Trading Standards. Of the total costs incurred, the company was ordered to pay only £5,000 leaving the council tax payer to bear the rest.

“The court today expressly said that what had happened was not done deliberately or for financial gain.”

Councillor Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public protection said; “It is entirely unacceptable for a local company to mislead the public with false labelling claims and substitute ingredients in order to cut costs.

“We want to reassure the public that we are working hard to maintain the high standards of food and drink in Suffolk. We continue to check food labelling and claims and we will take action against manufacturers in the county who commit food fraud.”


1 comment

  • How can the company blame trading standards? It clearly states that the company ignored previous warnings so the responsibility is all thiers.

    Report this comment

    LOST in LIFE

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Concerns for police staff over jobs

Hundreds of Suffolk Constabulary civilian staff face an anxious wait this week to discover the impact of a multi-million pound cost-cutting programme.

Tim Holder, director of the Suffolk Community Foundation, with Surviving Winter supporter, former journalist and TV presenter Christine Webber

A campaign to combat fuel poverty in Suffolk has helped more than 100 people to stay warm this winter in the first three weeks since its launch.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

A 20-year-old woman was given a six week prison sentence suspended for 12 months for stealing £10 from a resident of a care home where she worked.

Bad weather in Felixstowe.

Properties are at risk from flooding at Bawdsey Quay and Felixstowe Ferry, the Environment Agency has warned.

Former Ipswich Town manager Sir Bobby Robson

An online auction launched in memory of Ipswich Town and England legend Sir Bobby Robson has raised more than £160,000 for charity.

Ipswich Crown Court.

A 67-year-old west Suffolk garage owner who sexually assaulted and raped three schoolgirls more than 25 years ago has been jailed for 19 years.

A parade of puppets, live bands, fireworks and a packed Angel Hill, Abbey Gardens and town centre - the annual Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre

Tens of thousands of people swarmed to west Suffolk this weekend for what organisers expect to have been a record breaking Christmas Fayre.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24