A Radstock farmer has been ordered to pay more than £50,000 for failing to test chickens and eggs for salmonella before they went into the food chain.

He also presented birds for slaughter with either falsified documents or with documentation which did not relate to those particular birds.

Stuart Perkins, 38, of Haywood Farm, Radstock, appeared at Bath Magistrates Court on July 3.

He pleaded guilty to not carrying out the legally required testing for two years from 2021 to 2023 and submitting chickens for slaughter with either falsified documentation or with documentation which did not relate to the birds being slaughtered, between July 2023 and October 2023.

In a case jointly prosecuted by Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service and the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the court heard that Perkins ran a farm producing broiler chickens and free-range eggs, with the chickens being processed at his abattoir across the road.

Farms producing eggs are required to conduct routine salmonella tests in their poultry sheds every 15 weeks during the laying period. When the Egg Marketing Inspector visited the farm and requested salmonella reports, Perkins produced 16 reports dated back to August 2021, 13 of which had been falsified.

As part of the investigation, 43 documents showing that testing had been carried out on the chickens were also found to have been filled out by Perkins himself.

Fakir Mohamed Osman, head of the Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service, said: “We take breaches of this kind very seriously. The prevention of salmonella programme is there for a reason, to safeguard the public. Producers suspected of not carrying out the required testing will be investigated.

“The defendant’s actions presented a real risk to public health, and I am pleased that, thanks to our collaborative efforts with the Food Standards Agency, we were able to take action”.

Perkins and his company, SG Perkins Limited was ordered to pay a total of £50,830.75.

This includes a fine of £5,000 for each of the offences prosecuted by the Food Standards Agency (£20,000 total), and £3,500 for each of the offences related to his business (total £7,000).

Costs of £1,5472.75 were awarded to the FSA and costs of £6,358 were awarded to Devon County Council (Trading Standards) and a victim surcharge of £2,000.