Summers Poultry Products, which has been threatened with closure by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) since September, had sought a judicial review of the Agency’s decision to withdraw approval, arguing the FSA had relied on “unlawful” regulations and had not followed the correct process in reaching its decision.
The High Court dismissed all grounds for the challenge at a hearing on Tuesday (10 July), but the FSA conceded to allowing the plant to remain open while it pursues its right to appeal through the magistrates court.
The FSA had recently amended the Official Feed and Food Controls regulation to prevent meat businesses from operating when appealing against decisions to remove or refuse approval.
However, an FSA spokesperson said: “Given that this is the first occasion where approval has been withdrawn since then, the FSA has extended its undertaking to the High Court not to enforce its decision pending the determination of the appeal.”
Tim Russ, partner at Clarke Willmott, which is mediating for Summers, said: “This is a very sensible decision to agree on the FSA’s part, which we are delighted with. The FSA has recognised the commercial side and that is why the appeal has been launched.”
The appeal has been scheduled to take place at the magistrates court on 23 July.