Mid Wales

Illegal Llanddewi slaughterhouse case: registration urged

People in the food industry have been warned to register with councils after the operator of an illegal slaughterhouse was fined £3,000.

Gareth Mills, formerly of Cefnbronllys Farm, Llanddewi, Llandrindod Wells, admitted food hygiene and animal by-product offences, said Powys council.

The council said illegally slaughtered and processed meat destined for human consumption was seized during a raid.

Mills was also ordered to pay £3,000 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

The council said the farm raid was codenamed Operation Rudolph and involved environmental health and trading standards officers, the Welsh Food Fraud Co-ordination Unit, the Animal Health Veterinary Laboratory Agency and Dyfed-Powys Police.

Two outbuildings at the farm had slaughter and butchery equipment, Brecon magistrates' court heard, and its officers found sheep heads and other slaughtering equipment in a slaughter barn.

An on-farm butchery room contained a walk-in chiller full of carcasses and prepared boxed meat, added the authority.

There were meat cleavers, knives, wooden chopping blocks, a commercial sausage making machine, a commercial meat mincing machine and weighing scales in the room as well, it said.

Mills admitted two charges under food hygiene regulations and was fined £2,000 on Wednesday.

'Strong message'

They involved the operation of an unlicensed slaughterhouse, and included "the production and placing on the market unsafe food for human consumption".

He also admitted two separate offences under animal by-products regulations was fined £1,000, the council explained.

Barry Thomas, the Powys cabinet member for environmental health and trading standards, said: "This case sends a strong message that we will exercise our enforcement powers when food safety is being compromised.

"Meat intended to be sold for human consumption must, by law, be processed through a licensed slaughterhouse to safeguard animal welfare and protect public health.

"Anyone who runs a food business must register with the council, so our environmental health officers can work with them to ensure food hygiene is being managed properly."

Mr Thomas said the conviction served as a reminder to the agricultural community that they had a duty to ensure animal carcasses and by-products were disposed of correctly.

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