A food import company has been fined £5,000 after a pork sausage product was found to contain almost 50% horse meat, trading standards officials said.
A test purchase was carried out at a shop in Dartford, Kent, by Kent County Council's (KCC) trading standards department in October last year.
Tests by Kent Scientific Services on the vacuum-packed Lukanka Chumerna product, which was on sale labelled as containing pork sausage meat, found it was 46% horse meat.
It emerged that the Bulgarian-manufactured product had been imported by Expo Foods Limited, based in Enfield, north London.
A KCC trading standards spokesman said the firm did not test the sample, despite widespread media coverage about undeclared horse meat in various food products.
At Dartford Magistrates' Court yesterday, the company pleaded guilty to a charge under the Food Safety Act, the spokesman said.
As well as being fined £5,000, an award of £2,500 was made towards the council's costs, plus a £120 surcharge.
KCC's trading standards manager, Richard Strawson, said: "We are obviously concerned that this product was found on sale in Kent.
"We are aware of the sensitivities amongst the public concerning eating horse meat and therefore feel our actions were necessary to ensure that they can have confidence that what they eat is accurately described."
Expo Foods Limited voluntarily withdrew the product following the sample results, in liaison with the firm's local authority and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
FSA head of local delivery John Barnes said: "We are pleased that trading standards services continue to be vigilant to ensure food is correctly described to enable the public to make informed choices about what they eat. We fully support Kent County Council in the action it has taken."
A woman who answered the phone at the company today declined to comment on the case.