A fishy tale

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BOXES of dubious fish pies imported from Malta which may have been unfit to eat have been seized for destruction by Wigan Council.

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court granted the local authority permission to destroy 150 pies which were being kept at a cold store in Golborne following an international investigation into illegally-imported food.

Officers detained 120 pies containing lampuki, a Mediterranean fish, and 30 octopus dishes which had been imported into the country by London-based firm Le Malte Foods.

The meals were being kept by Cold Move at its store on the Stone Cross Business Park but investigations revealed they had not been made according to European standards and regulations.

Wigan Council stressed none of the potentially dangerous pies had been offered for sale to the public. The investigation into the 150 units began after Wigan Council was tipped off by an environmental health officer at Cheshire East Council, suggesting a bulk quantity of food in Golborne was unfit for human consumption.

Inspectors visited the premises and detained 150 units of the Maltese products before the authorities contacted the government on the Mediterranean island through the Food Standards Agency in London.

Politicians in Valletta confirmed Le Malte Foods had imported the pies from an unapproved firm on the popular holiday island, which meant the food was classed unfit for humans to eat and allowed British officials to step in.

The magistrates approved the condemnation of the goods and ordered their disposal by revenue and customs’ staff.

Wigan Council manager for business compliance and improvement, Julie Searing, said: “The council detained this imported product because of concerns about its origin.

“The investigation revealed that the lampuki and octopus pies were from a business in Malta that had not been granted the necessary approval and the safety of the food could not be guaranteed.

“The court order allows the council to seize and destroy the food to protect the public.”

Any product which contains meat or fish has to meet EU approval, which sets down a range of minimum standards manufacturers are required to meet.