Firm supplied chicken to takeaways - using Y-fronts as cleaning rags
A MAN has admitted supplying chicken to takeaways across Bristol from a filthy, unlicensed backstreet processing plant.
Kamran Ajaib used Y-fronts as cleaning rags and had no wash handbasins or knife steriliser in his makeshift butchers in Maggs Lane, Fishponds, which produced 20 tonnes of meat a week.
The chicken went to takeaway restaurants and kebab shops in Bristol, as well as surrounding towns and cities as far afield as Swindon, Cardiff, Newport and Swansea.
But the premises had none of the necessary food hygiene approvals or licences to work with meat.
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Council officials raided the site on the Fishponds Trading Estate after a customer found a piece of metal wire in a takeaway chicken.
At Bristol Crown Court yesterday Ajaib, of Gordon Road, Whitehall, pleaded guilty to 16 charges of failing to comply with food hygiene regulations, between June 2010 and May last year.
He faces a possible jail sentence when he returns to the court next month.
Initially, Ajaib, the sole director of Hamza Poultry Limited, had denied any knowledge of cutting chicken on the premises.
He told a previous hearing, held at the city's magistrates court last year, that it arrived in boxes from EU-regulated factories and was left in those boxes.
But city council principal environmental health officer John Barrow said equipment used in meat preparation had been found during a raid on the premises, along with off-cuts of meat.
Mr Barrow said council officers, accompanied by police, found work tables, a bandsaw – a type of saw often used to cut meat – knives, a chainmail glove – used by butchers to prevent accidental cuts to their hands while chopping meat – and open wheelie bins containing meat debris and bones.
The court was shown a photograph of a box of meat with a pair of underpants draped over it.
It was said that the pants were clean and came from a next door business, which had a surplus of old stock, and had been used as cleaning cloths at the chicken plant.
Bristol City Council successfully applied for an order from magistrates to destroy more than four tonnes of chicken seized in a raid on the unit in May last year.
Mr Barrow said a member of the public had made a complaint to the council after finding a piece of metal wire in a chicken takeaway.
A council investigation into the takeaway's suppliers led them to Hamza Poultry. Council investigators estimated the unit processed "in excess of 20 to 30 tonnes a week" of chicken.
From mobile phones and receipts seized in the raid they realised the meat was being distributed across the South West to what were described in court as "KFC clones and kebab shops", including outlets in Swindon, Wales and Bristol itself.
Asked what the premises needed to comply with safety standards, Mr Barrow said it lacked washbasins by work areas, a knife steriliser and any kind of safety management system.
Kate Burnham, who brought the application to destroy the meat on behalf of the council, said: "It doesn't matter whether this meat is fit for human consumption or not. It is simply because they have not got the right licences in place."
Ajaib told the earlier court hearing that he had stepped in at short notice to help his family, taking over the business from a brother who had been "locked up" some months before the raid. He said he had not known he needed a licence, and that the equipment he had on the site had come from a butcher who owed him money.