A turkey slaughterhouse near Braintree, Essex, has been fined £3,500 and ordered to pay costs totalling £2,100 for killing birds without an official vet present.
GST Ltd, of Parsonage Farm, Shalford, was successfully prosecuted after a Food Standards Agency (FSA) inspector visited by chance on 9 October last year.
He found the kill lines to be operating without a licensed vet – a legal requirement.
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The FSA said this meant official ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections were not carried out “on a number of slaughtered turkeys”.
The company provides free range and barn-reared turkeys to wholesalers and butchers.
An official vet is required to be present whenever licensed slaughterhouses are killing to monitor both welfare and meat quality.
The prosecution related to a single day in October last year.
Jason Feeney, chief operating officer at the FSA welcomed the successful prosecution, saying it helped “to ensure that consumers are kept safe”.
“In the case of GST Ltd, the regulation lays down hygiene rules for foods of animal origin, on the basis that products may represent specific microbiological or chemical hazards to consumer health,” he added.
GST Ltd was contacted but did not respond to requests for comment.