Illegal slaughterhouse fined £6,000
Published:  12 March, 2013

A Welshman operating an illegal slaughterhouse in Wales was fined £6,000 for offences ranging from hygiene to unsafe food and animal by-products.

According to authorities in Powys, Gareth Mills pleaded guilty to two charges "under Food Hygiene Regulations involving the operation of an unlicensed slaughterhouse, including the production and placing on the market unsafe food for human consumption and was fined £2,000 for these offences".

"He also pleaded to two separate offences under the Animal By-Products Regulations and was fined £1,000 for these offences."

The case was held before the Brecon Law Courts on 20 February. The raid, named Operation Rudolph, found both sheep heads and slaughtering equipment in the slaughter barn.

"The on-farm butchery room contained a walk-in chiller full of carcases and prepared boxed meat. Also in the room were meat cleavers, knives, wooden chopping blocks, a commercial sausage-making machine, a commercial mincer and weighing scales," said Powys authorities.

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

The case has sparked a warning to the food industry that they should register with councils.

Cabinet Member responsible for Environmental Health and Trading Standards, Cllr Barry Thomas, 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.

"This also sends a reminder to the agricultural community that they have a duty to ensure that animal carcases and by-products are disposed of in the correct manner," he added.

The £6,000 fine has been widely discussed among other slaughterhouse operators, such as William Lloyd Williams, who believes that such a fine does not reflect the severity of the case.

For the industry reaction, read Williams’ letter in the 15 March issue of MTJ.