An Auckland company has been fined $10,000 for adding sulphites to beef mince.
Food manufacturer and wholesalers Machi, operated by Diversity Foods Limited, was sentenced in the Manukau District Court on Thursday.
It pleaded guilty to two offences between September 2017 and September 2018.
Additives such as sulphites and sulphur dioxide can slow down meat spoilage, extend shelf life and keep meat looking fresh. However they are not permitted to be added to raw meat.
This is because they can also cause allergy-like reactions for some people, particularly sufferers of asthma, according to Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) food compliance services group manager Jenny Bishop.
The company's activity was detected during an evaluation of its food control plan when a bottle of liquid preservative was found.
Over the period in which offending occurred, a total weight of 23,445kg beef steak meat was sold with an estimated total value of $163,000, MPI said.
"The prosecution is a reminder of the need for food businesses to ensure their products are safe and suitable for consumption," said Bishop.
"Consumers expect that the food they buy is safe. We encourage anyone who has information about unsafe food to contact our food safety helpline freephone 0800 00 83 33."