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US firm fined over false supply claim

Fake salmon case highlights illicit trade

Fake salmon caseAn American salmon supplier has been fined after falsely claiming that fish imported from Chile was from Scotland.

US prosecutors, who also issued a probation order, said the salmon was sold under the St James Smokehouse brand, which is run from Annan in Dumfriesshire.

UpRiver Aquaculture, also known as MKG Provisions, pleaded guilty to violating a US law on false labelling of food and was fined $50,000 (£34,000), with three years of probation.

The offence goes back to December 2012 and involved 286 cases of Chilean farmed salmon.

St James Smokehouse has won numerous awards, including prizes for exports. A year before the offence it was named best new retail product at the International Boston Seafood Show.

Brendan James Maher founded the firm in 2003, taking over the Dumfriesshire plant which had previously been run by Pinneys of Scotland, part of Young’s Seafood. He now lives in Miami.

St James Smokehouse has more than 100 full time employees in the US and Scotland.

The case has again served as a reminder of illicit and counterfeit trade which has been a big issue in the food and drink industry.

Chief Inspector Ronald Megaughin, deputy director of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), saidScottish food and drink is world renowned for its quality and remains an integral part of our economy. This makes it a target for unscrupulous criminals.

“Illicit trade of this nature is a crime with many victims, from the source of the fake produce, where workers can be subject to appalling work conditions and even modern day slavery, through to the loss of earnings to honest firms and the wider economy. Furthermore illicit trade is often used to fund further criminal activity, including human, drug and weapon trafficking.”

The SBRC is hosting an event to highlight the consequences and impact of illicit trade, ‘The Real McCoy’ on 27 May at the Glasgow City Chambers, featuring expert contributors from Homeland Security, Interpol and Europol.

Coinciding with the event will be a fully interactive live ‘street market’ stocked with fake produce, located on George Square and intended to highlight the often hidden dangers of fake goods to the wider public.

 

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