Middlesbrough food firm 'put uncooked sausages in sandwiches'

Listeria bacteria Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Listeria bacteria is of most concern in chilled ready-to-eat foods that do not require further cooking

A factory which put uncooked sausages into pre-packed sandwiches has been ordered to stop making food.

Middlesbrough-based Café Class Ltd has been served with a prohibition order after being caught putting out-of-date fillings in wraps and sandwiches.

The firm was taken to court for hygiene and health breaches after failing an environmental health inspection.

Teesside Magistrates' Court heard its food safety practices posed an "immediate danger to human health".

On 13 September acting on the findings of environmental health officers, the Food Standards Agency issued a product recall on all the company's ready-to-eat food including sandwiches, wraps and salads.

The firm, which supplies stores such as Londis, Nisa and North East Convenience Stores, has been ordered to stop production, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

'Common practice'

Andrew Perriman, prosecuting for Middlesbrough Council, said inspectors found the factory had been putting ingredients which had reached their use-by date into sandwiches, wraps and salads labelled with a later use-by date.

In some cases a three-day shelf-life was exceeded by a further six days, he told the court.

"More troubling is that Lincolnshire frozen sausages, which the manufacturer says should be cooked before use, were being placed in ready made sandwiches," Mr Perriman said.

"They were never cooked before being placed in sandwiches.

"This demonstrates ideal circumstances for the risks associated with listeria to be increased."

Mr Perriman said listeria had "recently been identified with a number of recent hospital deaths linked to the production of sandwiches".

He added: "At that time the risks were highlighted, the respondent said it was 'common practice in the industry' because 'shelf lives are too short'."

When asked about practices at the factory on Riverside Park Industrial Estate, company director Shahid Nawaz had said it was "a debatable thing", the court heard.

Offered an opportunity to speak in court, both he and a second company director, Mohammed Haris Abdullah, said they did not wish to say anything.

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