ASIA POULTRY & MEAT, a processing facilty in Birmingham, has been fined £240,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,000 for removing meat placed under detention by the Food Standards Agency.

The business had been due to stand trial for breaching a detention notice that prohibited access to food chillers without the FSA present before they pleaded guilty.

Action was brought after inspectors found access of rodent activity during an unnanounced inspection in October 2017.

Site operations were immediately suspended, and unwapped products were detained to assess if they were suitable for human consumption.

But when FSA inspectors returned the next day, they found evidence that seals used to detain products had been tampered with and items had been moved or were missing.

The firm was warned about the consequences of such action, but FSA staff returned to find more meat had been moved following the first breach.

At sentencing, District Judge Jan Jellema said: “It is the clear responsibility of those in charge and nobody else would’ve had any motivation. The attempted deception was even maintained in interview…. I bear in mind the fine must be sufficiently substantial to bring home the need to comply…”