The business pleaded guilty to multiple instances of failing to prevent potential cross-contamination between carcases before their post-mortem inspection between March and April 2019.
The carcases were held on a rail system in the slaughterhouse, which was moving too quickly causing them to come into contact with each other.
This issue, known as ‘bunching’, had previously been identified by Food Standards Agency (FSA) officials who had issued a Remedial Action Notice which instructed the business to take steps to address it.
Food safety and hygiene offences
The FSA brought two charges for food safety and hygiene offences and an additional charge for a breach of the Remedial Action Notice.
The business pleaded guilty to one of the hygiene offences and the FSA withdrew the remaining two charges.
At a hearing on 20 March 2020 at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, the district judge took into account the company’s previous convictions for similar offences and concluded that culpability in the case was ‘high’ with a low risk to the public.
The business was fined £4,000 and was ordered to pay costs of £7,000 and a victim surcharge of £180.
Martin Evans, acting chief operating officer of the FSA, said: “This business was fully aware of the hygiene issue at its site which they failed to address on several occasions.
"The FSA will always aim to work with business first to help them resolve issues. However, where businesses disregard food hygiene standards we will take action to ensure that regulations are followed and public health is protected.”
In August last year, cutting plant Bowlands Foods Limited was ordered to pay £62,000 and prosecution costs of £9,384 for failing to ensure the removal of specific animal parts before they entered the food chain.