Boss fined for storing unsafe meat

A company director of Chrysalis Enterprises Ltd, Ben Loeber, has been fined £10,500 over storing unsafe meat in the human supply chain. 

Northampton Magistrates’ Court were told how environmental health officers from Daventry District Council (DDC) found several pallets of food that were past their use-by date and did not have the correct paperwork stating their place of origin.

It was concluded that the meat – consisting of chicken, beef and pork – was only suitable for producing pet food and should not be used for human consumption.

The lack of information on origins proved to be of concern to the local council. Mike Warren, health and housing portfolio holder at DDC, explained: “The traceability of food is absolutely vital to ensuring food safety. People should have confidence that the food on their plate is safe to eat and without the proper paperwork there is no way of knowing where food came from or how it has been treated.”

Loeber received his fines following a two-day trial where he was sentenced for three offences under the food safety and hygiene regulations. He received a £5,000 fine for placing unsafe food on the market and another £5,000 fine for failing to deliver any traceability documentation.

In addition, he was told to pay £10,000 for legal costs as well as £120 for a victim surcharge and £500 for not taking it off the market.

The meat was first detained following a visit from the environmental health officers from DDC in January 2014, when they found that most of the products had passed their use-by date and didn’t have the necessary labelling required under EU food law.

It is illegal for unsafe meat intended to be consumed by humans to be stored in a cold store. However, Loeber argued that it was not intended to be eaten by humans, but was only located there for storage purposes.

Despite his denial, magistrates concluded at the beginning of the month that as the food was placed in a cold store, then it was in fact available on the market.

“This was unsafe food that could have entered the human food chain without our intervention,” added Warren. “We take these matters very seriously – a lot of time and effort has gone into bringing this prosecution in the interests of public safety so we welcome the ruling of the court.

“Hopefully it sends a message to others that this council will not hesitate to use all the powers at its disposal to protect the health of the public.”

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