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Picketston Meats farmer prosecuted for food hygiene offences

A FARMER has been ordered to pay nearly £5,000 for food hygiene offences following a successful prosecution.

Martyn David, of Forge Cottage, ran a business called Picketston Meats from his farm in the village near St Athan.

Following an investigation by Shared Regulatory services (SRS) on behalf of Vale of Glamorgan Council, a number of breaches in standards were discovered, including chicken falsely labelled as free range being sold.

SRS carry out a variety of functions for the Vale, Cardiff and Bridgend councils in areas such as environmental health, trading standards and licensing.

During routine food hygiene visits to the smallholder in February and March last year, poultry intended for slaughter was found housed in filthy conditions.

The food processing room and slaughter room were both dirty and covered in blood, as was equipment.

Food was not protected from contamination, while animal carcases and waste were not being appropriately stored or disposed of.

With immediate action required, Mr David voluntarily closed the business before working with SRS officers to improve the situation.

But later that year, in October 2020, standards had lapsed, with poor practices reoccurring.

Although Mr David had a documented Food Safety Management System and cleaning schedules, they were not being implemented.

When asked, information was not available in relation to traceability, including where foods came from and who they were supplied to.

Between May and November last year, chicken was presented as coming from Mr David’s farm, where it was said to have been slaughtered and processed, when this was not the case.

In October 2020, Mr David also sold chicken which contained a label that falsely described it as free range.

In a case brought by SRS, Mr David pleaded guilty to a range of offences under legislation relating to poor hygiene and false description practices.

He was fined £3,500, ordered to pay £2,000 costs and a victim surcharge of £190. He was also prohibited from producing poultry on a commercial basis for five years.

Chair of the Shared Regulatory Services Joint Committee, Cllr Michael Michael, said: “Mr David was capitalising on the demand for locally-produced free range food but was not implementing the systems to run a safe food business.

“It is fundamental that businesses think about what they are doing, how they do it safely and not mislead the public.

“Shared Regulatory Services’ officers work hard to ensure compliance within food businesses across Bridgend, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.

“Prosecution is usually the final resort after the offer of advice and guidance. This case demonstrates, despite officers’ best efforts, some businesses fail to adhere to food safety laws and therefore put public health at risk”

Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Legal, Regulatory and Planning Services, Cllr Eddie Williams, added: “This is an example of an individual showing little regard for either food safety or the need to accurately describe produce.

“Food law controls are in place to keep people safe and not abiding by them can have serious consequences for the individuals that consume such products.

“It is also important that food is as labelled correctly so that the public can be clear about exactly what they are buying.

“Mr David has consistently failed to meet these requirements and that is something that will not be tolerated.

“I hope this case sends out a message to others thinking of flouting food legislation. Our officers are thorough in ensuring standards are met and we will not hesitate to take action against anyone found to be breaking the rules.”

For advice and guidance on running an existing or new food business, including how to receive advice on food safety management systems, visit SRS’s food hygiene advice pages.

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