Afro-Caribbean shop handed £2,000+ fine for selling illegal goat carcasses
WARNING: Graphic images used below
A Reading shop has been fined more than £2,000 after food hygiene inspectors uncovered several illegal food items including goat carcasses on the premises.
Officers from Reading Borough Council's Food Safety team visited Freddie’s Afro-Caribbean, in Whitley Street, in February 2023 for a routine hygiene inspection.
During the visit, officers discovered a goat carcass and three part-carcasses – known as ‘Smokies’ – wrapped in black plastic bags on the floor of the chiller unit, waiting for collection by a customer.
Previously earlier this month to the Reading Chronicle about the shop’s one star hygiene rating, a Freddie’s staff member said: "Some of our food is different so if you are not used to it, it looks bad. That's all."
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Smokies are a traditional delicacy of many West-African countries, where meat from sheep or goats is scorched with a blow-torch, giving it a smoked odour.
In the UK it is illegal to produce or sell Smokies under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations.
The regulations state that carcasses must be skinned entirely as part of the slaughtering process. Any meat sold in the UK must have been slaughtered in an abattoir and carry an approved Health Identification mark. Spinal cords must be removed as they pose a risk of infection.
In this case, the carcasses found at Freddie’s in Reading were unskinned, their spines had not been removed and they did not have an approved Health Identification mark.
Food safety officers also raised concerns about the fuel used to torch the carcasses, as it risked contaminating the meat with carcinogenic substances.
Photos by Reading Council
The owner was unable to give details as to where the meat had been source, according to inspectors. The required paperwork was not produced when asked either.
At a hearing at Reading Magistrates Court on March 17, an application for condemnation was approved and destruction of the goods was ordered.
Mr Frederick Otoo, director of Freddie’s Afro-Caribbean Ltd, was ordered to pay £2,025 in costs.
Reading Borough Council lead member for environmental services and Community Safety Karen Rowland said: “I’m pleased our Food Safety team were able to intervene in this case and protect the health of our residents. The production and processing in this manner with this kind of meat has been deemed illegal in this country because we are unable to guarantee the correct steps have been taken to make the goods safe.
“It highlights the vital importance of officer’s everyday work, as a routine inspection was able to uncover something much more serious. While the vast majority of food outlets in Reading are responsible, we take food violations like this very seriously and I want to thank our officers for their work on this case.
Photo from Google Maps.
“We especially want to send out the clear message that we will take enforcement action where there is no documentation to prove where food has come from. We remain vigilant against potentially unsafe food finding its way to the UK unchecked or examined without accompanying documentation. All food businesses must be able to provide a clear audit trail of where produce has come from.”