Hull Crown Court will today (22 December) determine the fate of five men deemed to have caused “an incalculable risk to human health” when they repackaged tons of condemned meat as fit for human consumption.
Sentences are due today on the verdict of guilty of conspiracy to defraud, which has already been given to Nottinghamshire-based Andrew Boid and Darren Bibby, and Peter Tantram of Ingham. Arnold Smith and John McGinty, from South Yorkshire, apparently hoped for leniency by pleading guilty before the trial began.
Between 1993 and 1996, Boid and Bibby conducted a multi million pound scam from the Newark-based company Wells By-Products. Condemned poultry destined for pet food producers Pedigree and Spillers, which officials found was badly bruised and covered in faeces, flies and feathers, was packaged as pet food and sent to Cliff Top Pet Foods in Lincoln.
There, Tantram cleaned up the slime from the meat with salt before sending it on to McGinty for repackaging to be passed onto food brokers for sales to supermarkets across Britain.
Health officials from the Food Standards Agency are stressing that this is an isolated case, and are urging the public not to panic. Lewis Coates however, an environmental health officer in Rotherham who led the investigation into Wells By-Products, is not so sure. He has called for an investigation into the practise, believing that there is evidence across Britain to suggest that many others are pulling similar scams.
To read the just-food.com coverage of the case as it went to court in September, click here.