An investigation into an illegal food processing plant has revealed that at least two tonnes of contaminated meat could have been getting into the food chain every day.
The raid on the premises
West Yorkshire Lamb, Beef and Poultry Ltd, which was operating from Unit 2 at Iron Works Park, Bowling Back Lane, was raided in September by the Food Standards Agency, Bradford Council environmental health officers and Home Office Immigration Enforcement.
But the owner of the business is still at large and no caterers or other businesses who bought meat from the company has returned it to the Council.
They had been urged to destroy any meat they had bought because it had not been produced in hygienic premises.
Food safety officers at the Council obtained an order from Bradford and Keighley Magistrates for the seized poultry to be condemned and an Emergency Prohibition Notice was served for the premises to remain closed until such time that it meets legal requirements.
Some of the seized meat
The business could also face a £50,000 fine after five suspected illegal workers were discovered by immigration officers and arrested.
It is understood the premises were open for at least five days and two tonnes of meat was being produced and supplied from the facility daily.
The suspected illegal workers were three Afghanis, aged 19, 26, and 38. Two are suspected failed asylum seekers and one is suspected of entering the UK illegally. Two men from Pakistan were also arrested. A 19-year-old is suspected of working in breach of his student visa and a 25-year-old is a suspected overstayer.
The 19-year-old Pakistani man has been removed from the country. The others remain in detention while steps are taken to remove them from the country also, a Home Office spokesman said.
Ian Bairstow, Bradford Council’s Strategic Director for Environment, Sport and Sustainability, said about West Yorkshire Lamb, Beef and Poultry Ltd: “Two tonnes of poultry was seized and destroyed before it got into the food chain. The company was operating from Monday to Friday so we estimate that it was supplying this amount each day.
The industrial unit in Bowling Back Lane that was raided
“Investigations are continuing to identify and locate the operator of the business to discover the full extent of its operations.
“None of the meat previously sold from the factory was returned to the Council. Similar operations are potentially planned but we do not release any details at it would alert the illegal business involved.
“Anyone supplying meat to the wholesale market needs to be approved by the food standards agency – if not they are committing an offence and liable to prosecution.”
A Police spokesman added: “We are helping with their enquiries to target food processing plants with unscrupulous practices.”
Meanwhile another local company has appeared in court on 11 charges including failure to maintain the food premises in a clean condition, failure to manage refuse stores in such a way so they are free of animals and pests.
Shaikhs Quality Goods Ltd, of units 5 to 6, 59 Spencer Road, appeared before Bradford and Keighley Magistrate’s Court last Wednesday and the case has been adjourned for trial on December 11.
Businesses concerned about any meat that they have purchased have been urged to contact the Council’s Food Safety Team on (01274) 431000.