A butcher who had a toilet opening on to a food preparation area had “jumped through hoops” to put right hygiene offences, a court heard.
Bradford Magistrates’ Court was also told yesterday that Terry Brightwell had spent more than £20,000 to move to better premises to avoid health and safety issues. His defence solicitor David Godfrey appealed for this to be considered when sentencing.
In fining Brightwell £2,000, District Judge Sue Bouch told the 58-year-old: “The fines could have been higher but for the factors put forward.”
He was also ordered to pay costs of £2,230 and a victim surcharge of £100.
Brightwell, of Edge House Farm, Thornton, admitted six food safety charges at his Silsden Butchers business in Shipley. These were failing to keep proper documentation; having a toilet door opening on to a raw meat area; only providing one hand-wash basin; failing to protect ready-to-eat food from cross-contamination by raw meat; failing to keep wall surfaces in easy to clean condition; and failing to train staff in food hygiene.
Mr Harjit Ryatt, prosecuting, said a routine council inspection revealed faults pointed out on previous occasions had not been put right.
“The visit showed lessons had not been learned,” he said.
Staff dealing with raw meat moved in and out of other areas without changing overalls. “Cross-contamination could occur,” said Mr Ryatt.
The only wash basin was in the raw meat section but used by staff in other areas. Staff did not know how to properly wash their hands. “They just rinsed in cold water and turned off the tap with their hands so risking cross-contamination,” he said.
A later inspection in January showed most issues had been resolved.
Mr Godfrey said Brightwell’s premises were not dirty or greasy. “But he knows there should have been a corridor between the toilet and other areas and more than one sink.
“He has jumped through hoops to put things right. His unit was small and unsuitable for the business. He has moved to larger premises which are fully compliant with regulations. All this has cost him more than £20,000.”
Mr Godfrey said that, at 58, his client was a farmer who had been involved in the butchery trade for many years. He had no previous convictions and ‘an unblemished character’.
“This has hit him hard,” he said. “He knows he should have been quicker to sort out directions placed on him and he is sorry.”
Judge Bouch fined Brightwell £1,000 each on two of the charges. She told him: “Breaches of basic regulations were brought to your attention and it is hard to understand why these processes were not complied with. I can’t see a good reason. But you have since made improvements. Some of these offences had a potential risk to the public.”
Mr Godfrey asked for the fines and costs to paid at £200 a month. The judge this was ‘not acceptable’ and set payment at £500 a month.