Illegal meat cutting took place in a shed

The illegal premises
The illegal premises

Luton Borough Council is urging all food businesses to check their meat and poultry suppliers following the successful prosecution of a man who ran an illegal meat cutting plant from a shed in the Dallow area.

Malik Nasar Ullah, 31, of Melrose Place, Watford, was found to be buying large quantities of meat, processing it in unapproved premises and selling it on to other businesses in the local area.

On discovery of the illegal operation in 2013 council officers closed the business, and seized illegally processed meat. Magistrates ordered the destruction of the 320kg of chicken preventing it from entering the food chain. The business was not known to the Food Standards Agency or the council.

The premises was found to lack even the most basic food handling facilities such as a supply of running hot and cold water and hand wash facilities.

The walls, table and equipment used for processing the chicken were covered in dried raw chicken and blood. The premises had not been pest proofed and there were dead flies in evidence. A cracked inspection chamber cover in the middle of the floor in the food preparation area led to a foul water drain.

The case was heard at Luton and South Bedfordshire Magistrates’ Court recently where the defendant pleaded guilty to 8 food hygiene offences, with fines, costs and victim surcharges awarded.

Colin Chick, the council’s corporate director of environment and regeneration. said: “We work hard to support local businesses that contribute positively to the local economy. There are many reputable businesses in Luton where meat is processed hygienically under strictly controlled conditions.”

“But any meat business operating outside the law jeopardises consumers’ health as well as the financial wellbeing of our law abiding businesses.

“Poor meat operators only exist because a few unscrupulous and money-greedy food businesses are willing to disregard their moral and legal duties to their customers.

“All food business operators are legally responsible for ensuring they know where their food is coming from and their suppliers are reputable, and may be asked by council officers to provide traceability of food at their premises at any time.”

To report any suspicious illegal meat activity visit www.luton.gov.uk/food email environmentalhealth@luton.gov.uk or call the Council’s food and safety team on 01582 510330.