Butcher fined £40k for selling 'poor quality chicken'

Chicken from Barking Halal Meat & Fish.

Council enforcement officers seized 500kg of chicken following an inspection of Barking Halal Meat & Fish. - Credit: Barking and Dagenham Council

A butcher shop in Barking has been ordered to pay more than £45,000 after being found guilty of attempting to sell poor quality chicken to customers.

Investigators claim Barking Halal Meat & Fish in East Street sold rejected supermarket chicken - understood to be going to be turned into pet food - for about a year.

Barking and Dagenham Council says enforcement officers who inspected the shop on August 23, 2018 discovered 500kg of "untraceable" chicken.

While they investigated the rest of the business, manager Azar Irshad allegedly quickly removed an unknown quantity of poultry from the store.

The initial 500kg of chicken was detained by the officers.

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During their inspection, council enforcement officers alleged they were subject to attempted bribes.

Fake receipts for 1,000kg of chicken were also provided in an attempt to legitimise the supply chain, they said.

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Officers contacted the company named on the receipts and concluded it had not supplied the chicken, nor was it aware of Mr Irshad.

As a result of Mr Irshad missing a number of court hearings and delays due to the Covid pandemic, the case wasn't heard in court until last week.

At Barkingside Magistrates' Court on September 14, Mr Irshad was found guilty in his absence.

The business was fined £40,000 plus £5,075 costs and a £170 victim surcharge, which must be paid within 28 days.

Barking and Dagenham Council says a warrant has been out for Mr Irshad’s arrest since February last year.

Cllr Margaret Mullane, who is cabinet member for enforcement and community safety, said: “This has been a long-fought case and I am pleased to see that this business owner has been found guilty and fined a huge amount of money.

“Not only were they committing a criminal offence, their actions may have also put the health of their customers at risk and that is simply something the council will not stand for.” 

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