Businesses Fined For ‘Potential FMD Outbreak’

UK - Two North Yorkshire food and waste businesses were fined a total £35,000 on Friday (21 October) at Harrogate Magistrates Court, for transporting and dumping food waste, including meat, on land to feed to sheep and cattle, which could have resulted in a potential Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak.
calendar icon 1 November 2011
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At the same time another North Yorkshire food company was fined £3,200 for failing to properly complete a waste transfer note.

F D Todd & Sons Ltd, of Thirsk Industrial Park, Thirsk was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,781 to the Environment Agency which brought the case.

Coast to Coast Recycling Ltd, of York Road, Tollerton was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,766 and Pro-Pak Foods Ltd, of York Road Industrial Park, Malton was fined £3,200 and ordered to pay costs of £1,848.

The court heard that the transporting and dumping of the waste had the potential to cause another FMD outbreak in a region still recovering from the outbreak ten years ago. It has been illegal to feed proteins (meat) to animals since 1988. Further laws were introduced from 2005 to help prevent the spread of viral diseases such as foot and mouth, swine fever and avian flu as well as bacterial diseases like salmonella and e-coli.

Pro-Pak Foods manufacture ready-meals on their premises at Malton, North Yorkshire. The food waste from the site was taken away by FD Todd & Sons to farms operated by Coast to Coast Recycling Ltd. A business must hold an environmental permit from the Environment Agency if it wants to accept and keep waste. When waste is transferred from one site to another, a waste transfer notice must be completed.

Holly Webb, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court how environment officers went to Home Farm at Aldwark on 2 March 2011 and saw a Todds lorry leaving. In a nearby field there were around 10 tonnes of mixed food waste which included rice, pasta, noodles, pepperoni and luncheon meat dumped in a corner. Sheep were in the same field grazing.

Officers spoke to Coast to Coast Recycling later that day. They said they thought the food waste was mashed potato and vegetables which was going to be fed to the sheep. The company agreed that what was stored on the land was unsuitable for animal feed.

They said the waste had come from Pro-Pak Foods and was delivered by FD Todd & Sons, as part of a two year agreement. There were no waste transfer notices, because they didn’t believe it was classed as waste because animals consumed it.

When officers spoke to Pro-Pak Foods, they confirmed that FD Todd & Sons took the food waste but believed that it went to landfill. They said their waste would always contain around 10 per cent meat.

FD Todd & Sons said that Pro-Pak Foods had changed what was going into their food waste without informing them.

Speaking after the case, Mike Riby, team leader at the Environment Agency said: “We were shocked to find this type of activity happening in an area still suffering from the effects of foot and mouth ten years ago. This could have caused another outbreak or spread any number of diseases. We will always use all our powers available to ensure activities like this don’t happen again.”

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