A TRADE butcher has been handed a court bill of more than £5,500 for a breach of food regulations.

County Foods admitted an offence relating to the traceability of a meat product following an inspection at its Poole premises.

The firm, which is based in Fleets Industrial Estate in Willis Way, said improvements have been made since the issue came to light.

Appearing at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court, County Foods admitted a single count in relation to food safety and hygiene regualtions. The company was fined £1,200 and ordered to pay a £120 surcharge and £4436.41 costs.

Doron Krips, County Foods managing director, said the issue, which came to light in March 2018, involved just one of 400 product lines – minced lamb –and it was dealt with immediately.

“This was an isolated incident,” said Mr Krips. “We have stringent food safety policies in place, took corrective actions and ensured that process and procedural improvements were implemented without delay. The court found that there was low culpability, and no harm to the consumer and that our processes were sound.”

“Since March 2018 we have been subjected to numerous official audits and inspections, planned and unannounced, all of which we have passed. As a company, we have a culture of ‘continuous improvement’ to ensure we are up to date with the latest industry thinking, processes and innovations.”

County Foods, established in 2004, is a family-run firm and it supplies products across Dorset.

Mr Krips added: “We fully understand errors of this nature are not acceptable and addressed the issue immediately. The judge gave us the lowest fine and we remain one of the most compliant food supply companies in Dorset, priding ourselves on achieving high standards throughout the most stringent audits and inspections.

“I would like to thank staff and customers for their support prior to today’s hearing – and reiterate this was an isolated incident, and we fully understand errors are not acceptable.”

The court case was brought by BCP Council.

Cllr Lewis Allison, cabinet member for communities, said: “We are delighted with the fine that has been imposed upon County Foods which highlights the high standards we employ when we undertake any food safety inspection. Protecting the welfare of all our residents is of great importance to us and we hope this sends out a strong message to food premises who do not meet the required food safety standards.”