FSA ready for battle on plant injunction
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has vowed to take action against an injunction preventing it from withdrawing a poultry plant’s licence to operate.
In a report presented at the FSA’s open board meeting last week, Tim Smith said the FSA’s head of approvals and veterinary advice issued a notice against Summers Poultry Products on 21 September, withdrawing the food business operator’s approval to operate as a poultry slaughterhouse with effect from 23 September 2011.
“Summers’ approval was withdrawn as the business consistently failed to satisfy the FSA that serious deficiencies in its operations could be resolved,” stated the report. “The plant had been the subject of every type of remedial and enforcement action at the FSA’s disposal in a bid to achieve full compliance. There was little confidence in the food business operator’s capacity to effectively manage the approved activities it had undertaken.”
However, Summers obtained an injunction on 23 September, which suspended the terms of the notice pending a judicial review. Smith told the board that the FSA had not yet been given the chance to present evidence to the judge. The board questioned why the review was taking so long and agreed that if the FSA had not been asked to present evidence to the judge by the 23 November, then they would take the case to the Justice Department.
Tim Russ, from Clarke Wilmott, which represents Summers Poultry Products, said the fact the judge had granted the injunction in the first place suggested the court thought the company had reasonable grounds to appeal the original FSA decision.