The Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland (FSANI) yesterday said the decision by Enniskillen Magistrates Court in Northern Island would send a message to any other food chain companies that are operating illegally.
The Euro Freeze issue highlights the need for traceability controls so that processors can ensure they do not fall afoul of food safety laws.
Food fraud can result in processors receiving illegally sourced meat that that may be of low quality or even unfit for human consumption, posing a health risk for consumers and a business problem for manufacturers.
Euro Freeze, a meat coldstore operation, was prosecuted by FSANI for offences under the hygiene regulations. The offences included use of the premises for a purpose for which it was not licensed and for illegally putting false health certificates on the meat products.
The company was fined £1,000 for each of the 13 breaches of the regulations.
Since the investigation into the Euro Freeze case began in November 2005, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and EU regulators have been tightening laws on inspection, labelling and traceability throughout the supply chain.
The investigation began when Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and district council investigating officers made FSANI aware of possible unlawful activity at a coldstore operated by Euro Freeze.
The closure of the company was ordered after the DARD seized a shipment of poultry from China that was destined for Euro Freeze. The shipment was destroyed due to violations of animal health standards.
The FSA investigation looked into the large quantity of foodstuffs found in the coldstore that had been illegally repackaged and re-labelled. The coldstore licence was suspended and the meats removed and condemned.
The UK's Food Standards Agency also issued an EU-wide safety alert to other regulators as some of the meat products had been shipped throughout the bloc.
In August last year, a UK court condemned the meat from Euro Freeze as having illegal health labeling and ordered the destruction of 254 pallets.
The judge concluded that health marks found at the premises were illicit and that the company was involved in repackaging contrary to the terms of their licence.