Distributor on food hygiene charges

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A Halifax man accused of running a processing plant in Bradford which was raided by food safety officials is to stand trial next year.

Majid Zaman, 33, who runs Halifax-based meat distributor Shariah Foods, made his first appearance before a judge at Bradford Crown Court on Tuesday after being charged with a series of food hygiene offences.

The allegations relate to a raid in September last year at a unit in Bowling Back Lane, Bradford, when environmental health officers seized two tonnes of chicken and a number of illegal immigrants were detained.

The prosecution has alleged that Zaman, of Parkinson Lane, Halifax, was the food business operator at the premises, but at an earlier hearing before Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court the defendant said he had sub-let the unit to another man and he was not involved in the operation.

The catalogue of 17 charges against Zaman included trays containing poultry meat being left in dirty conditions and knives for cutting meat being left to stand on the floor.

Prosecutor Harjit Ryatt told the magistrates court: “The premises were extremely dirty.

“Staff were cutting raw meat and did not have any means to wash their hands. There were no means of disinfecting work surfaces.”

But Zaman’s solicitor Majid Malik said: “Mr Zaman was just receiving payment. He took out a tenancy with West Yorkshire Lamb Beef & Poultry Ltd and then leased said unit. Karmat Sajid was the operator.

“He denies being the food business operator at the unit. They were conditions outside the control of the defendant.

“He was not responsible for managing and doing anything in the unit.”

During a preliminary hearing before the Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas QC prosecutor Howard Shaw said he anticipated that the case would go to trial and a date for the four-day hearing was fixed for May 5 next year.

Zaman, who had is bail extended by the judge, will have to come back to Bradford Crown Court to enter his pleas to the charges on January 16.