The operator of a Halifax-based sausage company avoided jail today after being convicted for breaches of food hygiene and safety regulations in relation to ‘appalling’ conditions at a barn in Mixenden.
Brian Wainwright, 45, and his 38-year-old wife Lorraine were convicted at Bradford Crown Court after pleading guilty last month to charges relating to their running of B&L Sausages Ltd in 2012.
Prosecutor Howard Shaw told the court that Mr Wainwright had produced sausages in a barn at Mixenden Lodge Cottage Farm, Mixenden, Halifax, that posed a ‘high risk to public health’.
Mr Shaw said that when the barn was raided by Environmental Health in May 2012, officers discovered filthy conditions including cobwebs, cement dust and animal manure in the preparation area.
Particles from the unsealed wall had fallen into the mincer and the tools including a meat cleaver and whisk were found to be rusty and unclean.
Rat poison was also discovered directly above the workstation where the sausages were prepared.
The sausages were described on the B&L Sausages’ packaging as being “Passionately sourced in Yorkshire.”
Mr Shaw said the sausages produced during the time spent at the barn between April and May 2012 accounted for approximately 27,000 meals and were distributed to restaurants, pubs and cafes across West Yorkshire and Lancashire, including the canteen at Halifax Town Hall and Eureka! The National Children’s Museum.
One cafe owner, not named by the prosecution, said the sausages “had a strange taste and would stick to teeth when you bit into them.”
However, Mr Shaw confirmed that there was no evidence of any actual food poisoning as a consequence of the breaches.
Judge Colin Burn said: “It is hard to imagine a more lethal environment for providing food for public consumption.
“It was undoubtedly a serious public health risk waiting to happen - it’s a miracle that no one was seriously affected.”
Mr Wainwright, of Lee Mount Road, Halifax, was sentenced to eight months in prison for each offence, suspended for two years and was ordered to carry out 300 hours of community service.
He is also prohibited from managing a food production business.
Wainwright’s wife, also of Lee Mount Road, received a fine of £750 for failing to provide information about suppliers of food to the company and businesses which had been supplied with products by B&L Sausages.