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Sausage factory fined £5,000 for hygiene offences

By Lorraine Mullaney , 05-Nov-2012

A family-run sausage factory in Merseyside has been fined £5,000 for food hygiene offences.

Hunter cited escalating circumstances beyond his control in his defence

Hunter cited escalating circumstances beyond his control in his defence

In a routine investigation, officers from Sefton Council’s food hygiene department visited Southport-based KWTJ Products.

Inspectors discovered dead flies and powdered food debris in the packaging room, dead flies in the electric fly killer and dirty equipment that came into contact with food.

KWTJ’s md Stephen Hunter pleaded guilty to two charges of breaching food hygiene regulations at Sefton Magistrate’s Court last month (October 18).

In a statement issued to FoodManufacture.co.uk, a spokesman for Sefton Council said: "Hopefully this guilty plea sends a clear message to all food businesses in the borough for the need for responsible food hygiene management.”

Circumstances beyond his control

In Hunter’s defence in court, his lawyer said the md had encountered a run of difficult personal circumstances outside his control that had affected his ability to maintain standards.

His business began to struggle when one of his customers went into liquidation in April 2011, owing him around £25,000. He took a second job as an HGV driver to boost his income, but ran into further problems when he had to take three months off work for a hip replacement. 

Hunter said he was “embarrassed and saddened” that he had spent all his working life doing his best and, “through circumstances that were put on him out of the blue, ended up in front of a criminal court”.

Several subsequent inspections by Sefton Council have discovered that a high standard of cleanliness has now been maintained.

Strict hygiene

A spokesman from Sefton Council said: "All food business operators must ensure they follow strict hygiene regulations at all times and failure to do so can have severe consequences for the people who eat or work at their premises.

"This court case came about from a routine inspection and businesses need to know that if they fail to comply with the regulations, we have no choice other than to prosecute them."

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