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Salmon fraud exposed

Rob Fletcher
Rob Fletcher
12 September 2017, at 2:00pm

A seafood salesman has admitted to fraudulently obtaining more than £200,000 by deliberately mislabeling Scottish salmon in order to export them to Eastern Europe.

Sea-Pac owner Alistair Thompson, from Aberdeenshire, admitted fraud at Aberdeen Sheriff Court after labelling the fish as coming from Shetland Products and Fraserburgh Freezing and Cold Storage – companies which had been approved for exporting to Russia, Lithuania and Estonia, reports BBC Scotland today.

Sea-Pac has since gone into liquidation, and the case – which is believed to be one of the most significant food crime incidents in Scotland – was brought to court following a four-year investigation led by Aberdeen City Council.

Sheriff Andrew Miller has sentenced Thompson to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work in the community, according to the BBC, while the Crown is now pursuing a Proceeds of Crime case, which is due to be heard at the same court on 21 September.

"The actions of Sea-Pac Ltd in disguising the traceability of the fishery products by fraudulently changing labels and documentation,” said Aberdeen City Council commercial team manager Andrew Morrison, “had the potential to detrimentally impact on food safety of consumers as effective traceability is an essential part of the food safety requirements.”

A spokesman for Food Standards Scotland added: "This is an incident of food fraud by individuals which has seen those involved brought to justice: it is neither a widespread issue nor representative of the salmon industry in Scotland.”