A KOSHER food firm has been ordered to pay nearly £28,000 for waste offences.

Osem UK, based at Hemmells Park in Hemells, Laindon, imports and sells Jewish and ethnic foods.

But Basildon Magistrates’ Court heard the firm failed to register itself with the Environment Agency as a producer of packaging waste.

The firm, which handles more than 50 tonnes of packaging each year and has a £2million annual turnover, also failed to meet its recycling requirements between 1998 and 2007.

Its failures meant the firm made a saving of more than £25,000 by not recycling properly.

Osem was contacted by the Environment Agency during its routine monitoring of the packaging waste produced by local firms. The firm admitted failing to register with the Environment Agency or a compliance scheme as a producer of waste, and failing to meet requirements to recover and recycle packaging waste between 1998 and 2007.

It was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £2,819 costs and £8,372 to the Environment Agency.

Following the hearing, environment officer Dawn Dorman said: “Although these regulations have been in force since 1997, we continue to find companies who are unaware of their responsibilities, by meeting the required obligated thresholds.

“The money Osem UK has saved by not purchasing packaging recovery notes would have directly supported the recycling industry.”