Maggot and rat-infested factory sees top seafood firm fined

By Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Maggot and rat-infested factory sees top seafood firm fined

Related tags Law Seafood

Allan Rich Seafoods has been fined after it was successfully prosecuted for illegally storing outdated food and having rat and maggot-infested premises.

Environmental Health Officers found dead maggots (see picture), rotting fish and rat droppings during a routine July 2008 inspection at the wholesaler’s factory near Market Rasen in Lincolnshire.

At the time Allan Rich stocked frozen lobsters and prawns that it sold to restaurants, and also supplied fish portions to leading major multiples for use in pies, ready meals and soups.

On Monday Lincoln Crown Court fined Allan Rich £10,000 and ordered it to pay £30,000 in costs after it was convicted of 11 food hygiene and animal byproduct offences after a prosecution by West Lindsay District Council and Lincolnshire Trading Standards.

Multiple hygiene offences

Former md Roland Saldanha was found guilty of 10 like offences and received an eight-week suspended prison sentence and a £10,000 bill for costs.

Lincoln Crown Court jury officer Lynda Gration told that Saldanha and his firm were found guilty of failing to comply with a site improvement notice, failing to keep food premises clean and maintain them in good repair.

She said other offences included unlawful possession and storage of animal byproducts – where out of date whole fish were moved to an “unsuitable place”​on the premises and thus became a byproduct – and failure to comply with national and EU laws regarding their consignment and transport.

Profit before public health

Judge Sean Morris told Saldanha that he had“put profit before public health, and for that there must be a prison sentence to deter others​,​ adding that threats made by Saldanha against an enforcement officer also made this necessary.

Joanna Riddell, West Lindsay District Council regulatory and community health team leader told "I initially visited the premises in September 2008, and witnessed an active rat infestation and an accumulation of rubbish. It was the worst premises I've inspected in 12 years of professional experience, and we applied for an immediate prohibition order to close the premises."

After the July 2008 inspection, which ultimately led to the site’s closure that September, Riddell said that Lincoln Magistrates Court ordered Allan Rich to destroy around seafood worth around £120,000, much of which was putrid, seven years out of date and had been defrosted and refrozen.

"There was approximately 200 tonnes of fish, much of which was in boxes with no labelling," ​said Riddell, "so management of fish or effective traceability was impossible."

She said the fines were just: “It was purely good luck that no-one we know of became ill. Overall we are pleased with the outcome, it was a fair decision.”

Riddell added that the prosecution had requested a prohibition order be applied to stop Saldanha or Allan Rich from trading in the future, but it had not been granted.

"I know the firm is still registered at Companies House ​[where it is registered at a Kensington and Chelsea address] but it's certainly not active in our area anymore, since it isn't registered with the local authority."

Lincolnshire Trading Standards spokeswoman Lucy Barraud added: “I have been in this business about 20 years and I have never seen anything like it. It was shocking walking into that factory.”

Related topics Frozen Meat, poultry & seafood

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1 comment

Not enough

Posted by jim currie,

After Olympic Rower dies of suspected Weils' disease caused by rat urine, it would seem that the fines are not enough...

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