A Kirkcaldy food manufacturer, which was ordered to recall products after being accused of extending the sell-by dates, is considering legal action.
Food Standards Scotland inspectors ordered Eat and Go Foods Co Ltd, to recall thousands of pounds worth of pies and sandwiches, and reduce the shelf life of products from six days to three, following an inspection at the company’s Mitchelston Industrial Estate plant earlier this month.
But Naji Yassen, the company’s owner and managing director, told the Fife Free Press that he has now received independent laboratory test results for eight of his products which confirm the six day shelf life he has been producing to for nearly 20 years, is indeed safe.
“The independent test results that we have now received vindicate and endorse the production methods that we have carried out for nearly 20 years, and prove that any notion that any of our products posed a threat to health, were completely unfounded,” Mr Yassen explained.
“We have never changed our production in any way, and we have never had an issue with food standard inspectors or from customers before, so the demands took us by surprise.”
The company, established in 1996 and an accredited supplier to WRVS hospital shops, convenience stores, filling stations, retail outlets, schools and colleges across central and eastern Scotland, has halted all production until the situation can be clarified.
Mr Yassen said he had willingly complied with the inspectors demands but has now been left further frustrated since being informed that the officers dealing with his case will not review the test results until the new year because they are all on holiday.
“I’ve had the results since December 23, but have been told that nobody can do anything until at least January 5,” he said. “I’m very angry. This is my livelihood, and I have 14 employees who are on full pay but who have been sent home as we have had to stop production.
“This has cost me thousands of pounds in lost revenue and wage bills because I am trying to keep my staff – after all, it’s not their fault, their livelihoods is at stake here too.
“However, my biggest worry is what damage this whole saga is doing to the reputation of my products, through no fault of my own.
“It could take months or even years to fully restore the reputation of my company. My products are safe and the paperwork has always been in place to say back that up
“Now we have new test results that reinforce that, it should be made a priority yet I will have to wait until well into the new year to even get this unsatisfactory situation resolved.”
Mr Yassen now said he is considering legal action for loss of earnings as well as potential damage to his company’s reputation.
A decision on Mr Yassen’s case is expected to be undertaken by the local Environmental Health Service at Fife Council early in the new year.