EHOs found filthy conditions
A man involved in the
running of an illegal slaughterhouse that did not adhere to even ‘basic’ household
hygiene has been ordered to pay back £40,000 in profits.
Mid Devon District Council
prosecuted Matthew Broom for the operation run at Little Esworthy Farm,
Templeton, Devon. The slaughterhouse involved the illegal butcher of almost
4,000 animals over a five-year period from hundreds of farms.
The court was shown photos
illustrating its ‘filthy conditions’ and heard how there was dried blood on
‘every surface in the premises’ and had no hot water to wash with. Over a tonne
of meat was seized and condemned as unfit for human consumption.
Mr Broom was found guilty
at Exeter Crown Court for 16 offences under Food Hygiene Regulations and given
an eight month sentence suspended for two years. Under the Proceeds of Crime
Act he was ordered to pay back the £40,000 within three months or face five
years in jail.
Assistant Judge Advocate
General Large told him: ‘You were slaughtering and butchering animals in a highly
unhygienic way which was likely to lead to the contamination of the meat.
‘The walls of your chiller
were filthy and there was dried blood on every surface in the premises. The
cutting room was equipped but filthy and unhygienic.
‘Equipment was encrusted
with meat, the block and surrounding areas were splattered with blood and there
was no equipment or even hot water for you to wash your hands. It is clear from
the expert report it was far below an acceptable standard and there was a risk
‘This was not just a breach
of the requirements but of basic hygiene practices known to any household let
alone to someone with your expertise and training in butchery. You ran your
business with complete disregard for hygiene or the risk to the public and you
did so for considerable profit.’
Mr Broom was also ordered
to carry out unpaid community work for 180 hours and pay £2,000 costs to Mid
Devon District Council and was banned from managing any food business.
Mr Broom’s claim that he
had no money, after gambling away almost £119,000 on horses, dogs and boxing,
was rejected by the judge. Large amounts of cash withdrawals totalling £83580
had been removed from his bank account in 32 days and after 166 days £117,880
had been withdrawn after the Council initialed confiscation proceedings under
the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 at an earlier hearing.
Cllr Colin Slade, portfolio
member for Wellbeing PDG said: ‘We welcome the sentencing yesterday and hope
this acts as a major deterrent to those who think they can profit from cutting
corners and jeopardising food safety.
Mid Devon does not tolerate
food crime that endangers consumers and we will take every opportunity using
Proceeds of Crime Act legislation to deprive criminals of their illegal gain.’
The operation was
discovered by chance when a Trading Standards Officer carrying out animal
movement checks on 5 November 2013. Environmental health officers were then
called who carried out a detailed search of the farm and the operation was shut
The search found a range of
problem areas including 17 unstamped and unfit carcasses and a chest freezer
full of cuts and processed meats.
It also found that the
cutting room contained a large number of trimmed and butchered meat and
accumulated meat waste. The floor was filthy and unhygienic with large amounts
of animal waste piled under the heavily scored and corroded butchers block and
was spilling out behind adjacent worktops.
The floor was littered with
accumulated and ground-in food waste, the walls, worktop and floor were blood
splattered and in a poor state of disrepair. A beef carcass was in the process
of being butchered.
Butchery equipment was
covered in blood and animal hair, and was generally dirty and corroded. On the
draining board a ‘sticking knife’, used to cut the carotid arteries, was
covered in blood next to ‘skinning knives’.