An Oxfordshire meat company that claims to supply some of the country's top chefs has been fined nearly £55,000 for selling Australian beef labelled as British.
Field Farm Fresh in Appleton, Oxfordshire, was fined £35,000 plus £19,500 in costs by a district judge at Kendal Magistrates' Court.
The group, which claims to sell "Oxfordshire's finest meats", counts Michel Roux Jnr and Philip Howard among its clients, although both chefs claim they have not used the supplier for many years.
Field Farm Fresh was found guilty of five offences of selling food which was not of the nature demanded by the purchase, eight of applying and supplying false trades descriptions to cuts of meat, and two of giving a beef fillet a label likely to mislead as to its nature.
The case followed a raid on the farm by Cumbria and Oxfordshire trading standards officers after two traders in Cumbria complained of receiving British beef fillets with Australian stamps of origin on them.
David Morgan, managing director of Field Farm Fresh, described the judgment as a "total travesty" and said he would be appealing against it to clear the company's name .
Morgan said that the case was based on an incident three years ago when a rogue employee, who has since been sacked, was caught replacing English beef fillets with Australian cuts and selling on the English meat himself.
By Angela Frewin