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Meat, pet food declared unfit to eat as English company’s violations continue

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Birmingham Halal Abattoir has recalled meat and pet food because it may be unfit for human and pet consumption.

Some of the products do not meet food and feed safety requirements so are unsafe to eat or be fed to pets.

Meat and pet food from four product lines that should have been removed from production were packaged with items that passed inspection.

As it was not possible to identify which batches contained the unfit product, the company, trading as Pak Mecca Meats, recalled certain batches of the items sold in England as they might contain meat that is unsafe. A spokesman for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) told Food Safety News that veterinary auditors detected the issue while carrying out a scheduled audit of the site.

“Some specific meat product (sheep feet, sheep intestines and sheep tripe) should have been removed from production at the point the associated carcass did not pass an inspection. Therefore, all of these meat products which are packaged and sold in multiples are being recalled as a precaution,” he said.

“Our investigation has confirmed the other meat products were disposed of accordingly and that these are the only products affected. Although the recall has been enacted, the FSA is continuing to investigate the incident. We are not aware of any human cases linked to this recall.”

The recall involves all batches of sheep feet 5-kilogram bags containing 36 feet and all pack sizes of sheep intestines produced and purchased up to and including April 29 this year.

Sheep tripe that was intended as fit for human consumption and packaged in 6-kilogram bags containing either six or four tripe, as well as sheep tripe intended as pet food all pack sizes are subject to recall.

It is not the first time Birmingham Halal Abattoir been subject to FSA attention. It was convicted and ordered to pay more than £18,000 ($23,000) for failing to conduct required meat inspections in 2018. In September 2017, the company slaughtered 41 sheep that had not been subject to ante-mortem inspections, which are inspections before death.

In February 2018, Birmingham Magistrates Court fined the firm £12,000 ($15,200), and ordered it to pay the FSA’s costs of £6,767 ($8,600), plus an additional £170 ($215) victim surcharge.

In February 2016, the business pleaded guilty to hygiene offences relating to carcasses touching the floor, and there have been three animal welfare related offences since 2013.

Fine for obstructing FSA inspections
Meanwhile, a red and white meat cutting plant in London has been fined £9,000 ($11,400) plus costs of £1,000 ($1,300) after preventing inspectors from entering.

At a Thames Magistrates Court hearing, the site owner of M Coban Ltd. was found guilty of two offenses of obstructing FSA inspectors from entering the premises on July 4 and Aug. 22, 2018.

FSA monitors compliance in cutting plants through planned audits and unannounced visits. Frequency of audits depends on the level of compliance at the site. Coban told the court he felt harassed by the inspections and that he had spent a lot of time and resources on the visits.

The site is no longer regulated by the FSA and is now registered by Waltham Forest local authority, which has a separate inspection regime.

Colin Sullivan, chief operating officer of the FSA, said the agency is obligated to ensure cutting plants are inspected on a regular basis.

“Obstructing our staff from carrying out their role not only prevents us from assessing whether the food being produced is safe, it can also be an offence. I am pleased that this company has been held accountable for breaking these rules.”

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