A SCOTTISH salmon firm has defended itself after a US supplier was fined for falsely claiming its salmon was from Scotland.
US prosecutors said the fish, imported from Chile, was sold under the brand of St James Smokehouse brand, run from Annan in Dumfriesshire and Miami.
But the company said it had no involvement in the case.
UpRiver Aquaculture, also known as MKG Provisions, pleaded guilty to violating a US law on false labelling of food.
It was fined £34,000, with three years of probation.
Prosecutors did not publish evidence that the Smokehouse company knew that MKG had sourced its fish from Chile.
The offence took place in December 2012, when MKG took delivery of 286 cases of Chilean farmed salmon.
The US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida issued a statement explaining: “MKG, acting through its employees and in connection with its business relationship with a client, St. James Smokehouse Inc, processed, smoked, and repackaged the salmon into bags provided to MKG by St James Smokehouse, which identified the salmon as a product of Scotland.”
The probation, which accompanies the $50,000 fine, is to “serve to provide oversight of the company’s implementation of a government-required compliance plan to prevent a recurrence of the offence”
The court papers stated: “The shipment was accurately identified in applicable business and importation related records supplied to MKG, as well as records generated internally by MKG, as a product of Chile and originating from Chile.
“MKG, acting through its employees and in connection with its business relationship with a client, St. James Smokehouse, processed, smoked, and repackaged the salmon into bags provided to MKG by St. James Smokehouse which identified the salmon as a product of Scotland.
“The falsely labeled salmon was intended for wholesale distribution and sale by St. James Smokehouse and was eventually sold to consumers through various retailers to which St. James Smokehouse had sold the salmon.
A spokesman for the Scottish firm said: “We at St. James Smokehouse are extremely disappointed and aggrieved at the way in which the information regarding Upriver and MKG has been reported by various news sources and the misrepresentation of St. James’ involvement in this.
“This misrepresentation could cause significant damage to our reputation world wide.
“The facts given are not only grossly inaccurate, but poorly represented. UpRiver Aquaculture, Inc., a.k.a “MKG Provisions, Inc. (MKG)” is not owned by or associated with St. James Smokehouse in any way beyond our past business dealings.
“St. James Smokehouse, Scotland has never conducted business with UpRiver Aquaculture.
“We have worked entirely in accordance with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in this matter and have provided all information requested.
“In early 2013, we made the decision to locate and purchase 2.5 acres of land in central Miami, FL. investing $5.5m to construct our own smokehouse in the USA.
“After two years of construction, the smokehouse was completed at the end of 2015 and we now have the newest state of the art smoking facility in North America.
“St. James Smokehouse now has approximately over 100 full time employees in the US and Scotland collectively.
“Our purchasing department has sole responsibility for the procurement of every single ingredient and component in production of all products.
“Our dedicated team of craftsmen employ time honoured, traditional methods to create our artisanal products under the watchful eye of our master smoker and are reinforced by our quality team, food safety and laboratory managers ensuring strict HACCP compliance in food safety, quality, consistency and traceability.
“We strive to provide perfection at every level and since inception in 2003 - have worked tirelessly to become the world’s most award-winning smoked salmon company.”