Food Standards Agency
FSA prosecutes production manager who obstructed an NFCU officer
One woman has been fined after pleading guilty following a successful prosecution by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for intentionally obstructing an National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) officer during an unannounced visit
The FSA works to ensure food is safe and what it says it is by monitoring compliance at approved premises ensuring all specific requirements in food hygiene legislation are met.
Emma Nakova, from Northampton, was charged with the obstruction of an officer acting in the execution of the Hygiene Regulations on 15th December 2021. She pleaded guilty at Northampton Magistrates Court on 17th January 2024.
The defendant, a production manager at a Northampton Food Services Ltd admitted obstructing the NFCU’s unannounced visit by delaying entry to the premises.
Nakova was sentenced to a fine of £500, victim surcharge of £200 and full prosecution costs of £12,118.18.
Head of the FSA’s NFCU, Andrew Quinn, said: “We’re tackling food fraudsters and protecting public health by helping to ensure businesses meet their responsibility to sell safe and authentic food. This case shows that people who stand in the way of our work can become personally liable for substantial costs – it’s vital that we gain access to fulfil our own responsibilities to check whether anything untoward is going on. Deterring people who don’t play by the rules and ensuring they don’t get away with it helps support legitimate businesses and we continue to work together with industry to protect the consumer.”
We’re always available if you want to share concerns confidentially about food fraud where you work on food.gov.uk, or you can call for free on 0800 028 1180.”
On sentencing her, the judge said: “You were the production manager at this company, and you knew full well that you must open the door to those who are looking to see if there are any offences or anything untoward in that business. That's important because the agencies must know in order to protect public health if there is anything untoward going on at the premises. I take the view this was wilful blindness to it which gives high culpability and a category 2 offence, aggravated by the state of some of the meat in production.”
If you suspect food fraud, report it to Food Crime Confidential always available on food.gov.uk or by phoning 0800 028 1180 (0207 276 8787 for non-UK mobiles and calls).
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