North Yorkshire businesses fined for "potential foot and mouth outbreak"

Two North Yorkshire businesses have been fined for dumping food waste including meat on land to feed sheep and cattle. The Environment Agency told the court that that the transporting and dumping of the waste had the potential to cause another foot and mouth outbreak in a region still recovering from the outbreak ten years ago

The companies - FD Todd & Sons Ltd and Coast to Coast Recyling Ltd - were fined a total of £35,000 by Harrogate Magistrates Court transporting and dumping food waste. Another company, Pro-Pak Foods Ltd, was fined £3,200 failing to properly complete a waste transfer note.

The case was brought to court after the Environment Agency discovered that food waste was being taken away from the premises of food processor Pro Pak Foods in Malton by FD Todd & Sons and dumped on farms operated by Coast to Coast Recyling Ltd.

Holly Webb, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court that environment officers went to Home Farm at Aldward on 2 March 2011 and saw a Todds lorry leaving. In a nearby field there were around 10 tonnes of mixed food waste which included rice, pasta, noodles, pepperoni and luncheon meat. Sheep were grazing nearby.

Coast to Coast Recylcing admitted accepting the waste, but said it was led by FD Todd & Sons to believe that the waste only contained vegetables. A representative said that when he found out that the waste contained meat he felt “pretty sick”.

Representatives from FD Todd and Sons said that Pro Pak Foods had changed what was going into its food waste without telling them. Pro Pak Foods said it believed the food waste was going to landfill and told officers that its waste would always contain around 10% meat.

The court was told that a waste transfer note for the movement failed to decribe the waste accurately and the European Waste Catalogue Code had been altered.

Coast to Coast Recycling pleaded guilty on the basis that it has wrongly assumed the waste originated from the manufacture of vegetarian ready meals. It was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,766 to the Environment Agency. F D Todd & Sons did not enter a basis of plea but offered an unqualified apology for the failings which had given rise to the offences. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,781. Pro-Pak Foods Ltd, of York Road Industrial Park, Malton was fined £3,200 and ordered to pay costs of £1,848.

Summing up, the magistrates said something went very wrong, adding that it was the responsibility of all the companies to have knowledge of the legislation and comply with it.

Speaking after the case, Mike Riby, team leader at the Environment Agency said: “We were shocked to find this type of activity happening in an area still suffering from the effects of foot and mouth ten years ago. This could have caused another outbreak or spread any number of diseases. We will always use all our powers available to ensure activities like this don’t happen again.”

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