Staffordshire trading standards team act to stop suspected illegal meat production
Hundreds of packaged meat items and equipment has been seized by Staffordshire County Council’s trading standards team today (25 February) as it intercepted a suspected illegal meat production operation.
Officers visited three premises in Stafford, Uttoxeter and South Derbyshire where the items were seized. They included meat labelled as high-end products such as venison which did not have authorised health stamps. Two people were arrested and street bailed. Today’s operation was supported by environmental health officers at Stafford Borough Council, East Staffordshire Borough Council, South Derbyshire District Council and Staffordshire Police. The investigation followed an initial call to Stafford Borough Council by a member of the public.
Meat products were seized from the Uttoxeter and South Derbyshire premises and production equipment, including packaging and labels, from a unit in Stafford. It is thought health stamps from other businesses may have been fraudulently used. Initial analysis of test purchased items has shown meat contamination.
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for economy and infrastructure Mark Winnington said: “Food fraud damages the local economy, affecting legitimate businesses, jobs and consumers. We have joined together to use our resources effectively and fortunately managed to stop illegal activity. The products seized have no traceability and do not have approved health stamps. If it is found that they have been fraudulently using another business’s stamp this could have put jobs on the line. It is in all our interests to make Staffordshire a safer and more prosperous county which is why today’s operation is important.”
Communications Office, 4th Floor, Staffordshire Place, Stafford, ST16 2LP Tel: 01785 895050
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DATE: 25 February 2014