Guilty verdicts in illegal meat cutting plant trial

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A poultry distributor from Halifax accused of running an illegal and filthy meat cutting plant in Bradford has been found guilty on all charges by a jury this afternoon (Friday).

Majid Zaman, 34, had insisted that he was not operating the business at an industrial unit at Iron Works Park, Bowling Back Lane, but he now faces sentence on a date to be fixed in December.

When health officials and Border Agency officers went to the unit in September 2013 they found workers in dirty clothing cutting up chicken carcasses inside the unapproved and unhygienic premises.

Married father Zaman, of Parkinson Lane, Halifax, denied being the boss along with a dozen charges relating to food safety and hygiene breaches.

Zaman, who runs poultry distribution firm Shariah Foods, claimed it was the first time he had been involved in letting a unit and he had been hoping to make 100 per cent profit by sub-letting the premises to two tenants.

During the week-long trial the jury at Bradford Crown Court heard that officials seized two tonnes of chicken from the unit which was later certified as unfit for human consumption.

Zaman was released on bail to await his sentence but Recorder George Cook told him that all sentencing options including custody would be open to him at the next hearing.

The offences carry a maximum of two years in jail, but Zaman’s barrister Frida Hussain said she would be pressing for any jail term to be suspended.

The judge also asked for up-to-date information about Zaman’s financial circumstances.

Following the conviction of Majid Zaman, Councillor Arshad Hussain, Bradford Council’s Executive Member with responsibility for Environmental Health, said: “Bradford Council is determined to try and stamp out food crime and stop illegal food businesses flouting the law by operating without the required standards of inspection, registration and food hygiene in place.

“Working with other agencies, Bradford Council’s rapid intervention to close down this illegal plant prevented large amounts of unfit meat entering the local food chain over a prolonged period.

“Bradford Council will not allow criminals to produce food in unhygienic and unregulated processing conditions.”