Shocking video footage and grisly photographs of a sausage factory in a Halifax barn expose appalling and filthy conditions which put thousands at serious risk.
The sausages were distributed to high profile pubs, cafes, hotels and restaurants across Calderdale and West Yorkshire - and were even supplied to the canteen at Halifax Town Hall.
The operators of a B&L Sausages Ltd were sentenced this week after being convicted for breaches of food hygiene and safety regulations.
Prosecutor Howard Shaw told Bradford Crown Court how Brian Wainwright, 45, and his 38-year-old wife Lorraine had operated a company that produced sausages from \a barn at Mixenden Lodge Cottage Farm, Mixenden, that posed a ‘high risk to public health’.
Mr Shaw said that when the barn was raided by Environmental Health inspectors in May 2012, officers discovered rat poison directly above the work station where the sausages were prepared, and filthy conditions including hanging cobwebs, cement dust and animal manure in the preparation area.
Sausage meat was left in open containers and dead animals including a cow and a chicken were left on the floor, in crates and hanging from a rusty hook.
Particles from the unsealed barn wall had fallen into the mincer and the tools including a meat cleaver and whisk were found to be rusty and caked in filth and blood.
During the raid, the farm’s dog ran off with a lamb’s head that was lying on the barn floor.
Mr Shaw said the sausages, produced during the time spent at the barn between April and May 2012, accounted for approximately 27,000 meals.
One cafe owner, not named in court, said the sausages “had a strange taste and would stick to teeth when you bit into them.”
Mr Shaw added 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, Lee Mount, 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.
The sausages were described on the B&L Sausages’ packaging as being “Passionately sourced in Yorkshire.”
Speaking after the case Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Economy and Environment, Barry Collins, said: “The Council welcomes this verdict. Our Environmental Health officers have worked tirelessly on this case, alongside the Food Standards Agency.
“People should be able to have faith that food businesses are following hygiene rules, and that the products they buy are safe to eat. When health is put at risk we won’t hesitate to take action.
“We work hard to give local businesses the information they need to comply with food hygiene and safety rules, but when the advice and direction aren’t taken, our only option is to prosecute.
“I thank everyone who has shown such determination in pursuing this case. It sends a clear message to other food businesses to make sure they put their customers’ safety first.”