UK bacon producer fined 18,000 for illegally selling hams

When food safety types arrived for a routine inspection at a bacon producer on Dec. 17, 2009, they found the company had started cooking and selling hams at the premises.

The Wiltshire Gazete and Herald reports a subsequent inspection of the ham production area found problems with cleaning and food safety management, including structural defects and poorly maintained equipment.

Remedial Action Notices were served requiring them to stop the production and sale of cooked meats at the premises. The company, Sandridge Farmhouse Bacon Ltd in Bromham, agreed to voluntarily surrender all the hams on site because they had not been produced in accordance with the relevant food safety legislation.

Sandridge Farmhouse Bacon Ltd and the managing director, Roger Keen, pleaded guilty to all seven charges brought by Wiltshire Council, which were:

Failure to ensure the council had up-to-date information about the business and its operations
Failure to have in place a food safety management system
Failure to ensure the design and construction of the premises helped protect against the formation of condensation and mould on surfaces
Failure to ensure the premises was kept clean and maintained in good repair and condition
Three counts of failing to ensure that surfaces (including the surfaces of equipment) in areas where foods were handled were in a sound condition and easy to clean and disinfect.

In addition to the fine, Mr Keen and Sandridge Farmhouse Bacon Ltd were ordered to pay costs of £1,000 and a £15 victim surcharge – for a total of £18,000.

Councillor Keith Humphries, Cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said,

“This was a deliberate attempt by the business to supply food for the festive season which was produced in unsatisfactory conditions. I commend the food safety officers for their prompt action in removing the food from sale and safeguarding public health.”

Since the inspection last December standards at the premises have greatly improved and they are now able to resume ham production.