20 January 2012

A farmer who failed to properly dispose of the remains of a slaughtered cow and had illegally slaughtered beef in his unregistered farm shop has been fined following a joint investigation by Northamptonshire County Council’s trading standards service and Daventry District Council’s environmental health team.

At Northampton Magistrates Court today (Friday 20th January) Clive Patrick Lawrence, owner of Sheltons Farm Shop, East Haddon was fined £27,000 and ordered to pay costs totalling £16,949.

This follows a hearing on 6th January when Lawrence pleaded guilty to four charges relating to the identification and registration of his cattle, failure to comply with regulations regarding the disposal of animal by-products, and 13 food safety and hygiene offences, including failure to protect food from contamination that likely made the food unfit for human consumption.

In December 2010, Northamptonshire County Council trading standards and Daventry District Council’s environmental health team conducted an inspection of Shelton Farm Shop, the animals and farm premises.

During the inspection, a large quantity of illegally slaughtered meat was seized by DDC’s environmental health team; the meat was subsequently condemned by Daventry Magistrates Court, who ordered its destruction. Trading standards officers also found the remains of a cow on the site of a previous bonfire as well as a number of animals without proper identification documents.

Farmers must register the birth and death of their animals and record the detail of cattle movements on and off their farms. These controls are essential to ensure that only disease free animals are allowed into the human food chain, to help eradicate BSE and to assist bringing a disease outbreak under control as quickly as possible by tracing its source.

Councillor Ben Smith, county council cabinet member for environment said: “This is a very serious matter; by not complying with regulations regarding cattle identification and failing to dispose of the remains of a dead animal in the proper way this farmer was risking public health and breaking the law.

“I am pleased trading standards have been able to take this action and worked with colleagues at Daventry District Council to achieve a successful result. The regulations are there to prevent outbreak of disease; trading standards will not tolerate this type of activity and will take action against those not complying with the law.

”Anyone with any information about similar issues can call 08454040506 for trading standards advice.”

Councillor Steve Osborne, housing and health portfolio holder at Daventry District Council, said: “The presence of contaminated illegal meat in an unhygienic shop that was open to customers posed a deplorable risk to public health. The prompt action of our environmental health officers removed the risk immediately and they have since worked with Mr Lawrence to help ensure that it does not happen again.

“If any farmers in our district slaughter, or intend to slaughter, animals on their farm, they should contact our environmental health team on 01327 871100 to receive necessary advice. We will continue to take robust enforcement action when advice is not sought or heeded.”